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Case Number 23597: Small Claims Court

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In the Garden of Sounds

First Run Features // 2010 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // March 31st, 2012

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge James A. Stewart wants to grow some nice jazz and a few opera vines.

The Charge

"The world of sound has become very important to me."

The Case

For Wolfgang Fasser, who gradually lost his sight due to retinis pigmentosa, sound and music are vital. They're also something to be shared. His work in the musical improvisation studio, complete with gongs, doesn't just create music, though. His music therapy helps children deal with problems such as a cerebral handicap or a mental disturbance.

In the Garden of Sounds (or Nel Giarono dei Suoni in Italian) tells the story of Fasser's work mostly by showing him in action: helping a girl learn to walk, showing "cause and effect" with the piano, or having students play instruments blindfolded, for example. Fasser is patient and cheerful, but always seems to be working. Other scenes show Fasser outdoors, taking in the sounds of nature.

Fasser's work is always interesting, although there are a few points when you might like first-time director Nicola Bellucci to make room for more explanations of the process. Fasser's resilience makes him interesting as well, as he recalls the relief he felt when he totally lost his sight or describes his graceful adjustment to the hearing aids that preserve his most-used sense.

In the Garden of Sounds is heavy on ambient noises, whether created in his studio or naturally in the outdoors. When there is music added, it's soft and gentle, leaving room for the natural sounds as well.

Two extras, "Travels with Wolfgang" and "Shalom Klezmer," show Fasser in performances, again using very little dialogue (in this case, unsubtitled) to present his work. There's also a resource guide, providing Internet addresses for organizations dealing with disabilities, and a director bio.

Bellucci's emphasis on showing the therapy itself opens up the world of Fasser and his charges. For anyone dealing with music therapy—parents, children, or educators—it should provide an excellent starting point.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: First Run Features
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Italian)
• English
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks

• Foreign
• Documentary


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