Legendary filmmaker Amir Naderi had the audacity to compose his sixteenth film of only two scenes, plus a brief prelude and epilogue. Out of this massive risk has come an undeniable masterpiece, Sound Barrier. An 11-year-old boy, Jesse, travels from Manhattan with a letter and a key to a Queens storage unit. In this tiny room, he searches for an audiocassette recording of his deceased mother. Desperate to hear her voice, he hopes she will provide clues to their past and himself. But even if he finds the tape, Jesse will face another obstacle. He is both deaf and mute. Working with such a minimal story, Naderi has succeeded in expanding the boundaries of cinema farther than any of his contemporaries. Yet he never forgets the essential human emotions that so powerfully entangle the viewer with Jesse and his quest, and that is what makes watching this film such a profoundly rewarding experience. Charlie Wilson delivers an impressive debut performance as Jesse, and rising New York cinematographer Michael Simmonds heightens each moment with his unique and brilliant compositions. Sound Barrier challenges the veiwers very existence, and forces you to question any and all limits. Through the determination of Jesse, the film provides hope and inspiration to begin life anew-to break the sound barrier.
Amir Naderi helped focus international attention on Iranian cinema with his early '80s works such as The Runner and Water, Wind, Dust. Based in New York City since the late '80s, Naderi has since made his New York Trilogy: Manhattan by Numbers (1993), A, B, C... Manhattan (1997), and Marathon (2002). Retrospectives of his films have been produced by organizations in several countries, including New York's Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in 2001 and an upcoming retrospective by the National Film Museum of Torino, Italy slated for September 2005. Naderi's new film, Sound Barrier (2005) is the first part of his Sound Trilogy, films that explore the use of sound as character.