Ears, Nose and Throat ★★★★


My capsule review from my TIFF Wavelengths coverage for MUBI:

This is one of Everson's very best short films, and if you know the man's work you know that's saying something. Part of what makes EN&T so affecting is its combination of storytelling and formal invention. Everson constructs the film so that certain elements are introduced before we have a clear sense of their full context. As the film begins, we're seeing a series of brief neighborhood establishing shots, each edit accompanied by a beeping tone which we take to be an audio "control track."

Later, we see the subject of the film, Shadeena Brooks, getting a hearing test. She is indicating whether she hears the tones in either her left or right ear. And, as she tells the story of a senseless shooting death right outside her home, we can intuit that the gunshots themselves damaged her hearing, thus prompting the visit to the ENT. As is so often the case with Everson's work, a seemingly marginal part of a larger social issue becomes our way to grasp its magnitude. The ripple effect of urban violence is materialized on an African-American woman's body, but she is telling us about yet another victim. Otherwise abstract montage is grounded in a tragic materialism.