“I find it fascinating to watch the face of someone who is reading, playing music or thinking, because these are often moments when people seem to forget their ‘social face’, being so concentrated on an interior activity; moments in which a mental space is reflected on the face — this surface between inside and outside.” (Manon de Boer)

Manon de Boer’s film ‘Presto — Perfect Sound’ is a portrait of George van Dam, the composer and violinist with whom De Boer collaborated for the soundtrack of ‘Sylvia Kristel-Paris’ (2003) and ‘Resonating Surfaces’ (2005). Van Dam performs the fourth movement of Bartok’s ‘Sonata for Violin Solo, Sz. 117’ (1944), the version with micro-intervals. In order to achieve ‘perfect sound’, or a ‘perfect’ soundtrack, van Dam edited the audio track from six different recordings.
Afterwards, de Boer edited the film to match the soundtrack. In allowing the audio to dictate the image on screen, de Boer inverts the traditional domination in film of image over sound. The film is a meditation on the relationship between sound and image and offers an intense reflection on a moment of creative concentration, when the subject is fully absorbed, almost as if out of sync with the world around him. Sound and music obviously have important roles in this film portrait of a professional musician playing Bartok. Yet the cinematographic nature of the work cannot be overstated. The recording space was acoustically recreated for filming purposes, since the sound was both recorded (with six microphones) and mixed for a 5.1 Channel Dolby Digital system. And the music itself “creates a tension line, quite similar to a plot” (van Dam) — which underlines the fact that here it is being used for narrative cinematographic purposes. Because the image was edited to correspond to the final sound montage, what one sees is not the seamless, continuous performance that one hears.
The visual edits are perceptible, whereas the sound edits are not. Thus the film induces a paradoxical feeling of continuity and discontinuity and reveals the tension built into its dual aim of creating a film portrait of a musician while inverting the usual image/sound hierarchy. (Steve Tallon)

This work has been digitised in the frame of DCA Project

  • Format 35mm(35 mm.)
  • Color system PAL
  • Color col.
  • Year 2006
  • Duration 00:05:53
  • Artists