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Barton Fink

Cabaret Cinema - Soundtrack

Friday, August 11, 2017
9:30 PM–11:45 PM


1991, Joel Coen, USA, 117 min.

Selected and introduced by director and writer Pamela Romanowsky

An earnest New York playwright (John Turturro) struggles to complete his first screenwriting contract despite a terminal case of writer’s block, the intrusions of a talkative neighbor (John Goodman), and a series of bizarre events that sends him into a surreal nightmare.

“The sound scenarios in Barton Fink transcend the traditional role of merely reinforcing the visuals, which in turn, encourages deeper levels of meaning.”— Randall Barnes, Offscreen

Why did you select Barton Fink for the Cabaret Cinema: Soundtrack series?

“Sound is the side door directly into a character’s mind, and in Barton Fink the soundscape roots us firmly in the mind of our anguished and neurotic protagonist. The film feels so much in Barton’s head that not only do we have direct access to sit in it with him, we begin to wonder if the entire movie takes place there, in his imagination. To accomplish such a feat required a long and thoughtful collaboration between the filmmakers, sound designer Skip Lievsay, and composer Carter Burwell that has become a legendary example of best practices. The design and score work together seamlessly, working different frequencies and carving out space for each to ebb and swell, often taking the narrative lead during long stretches without dialogue, where the sound propels the plot and emotional arcs. Barton Fink is a masterclass in using sound to its full potential in film, as a peer to the image and essential storytelling tool, not just a portion of finishing.” — Pamela Romanowsky


About Cabaret Cinema: Soundtrack

You can probably name the best movie you’ve seen, but what about the best movie you’ve heard? It might be your favorite because of its sound effects, sound engineering, score, or another element of the audio experience. Watch—and hear—a series of films that caught the ear of notable New Yorkers.



About the Introducer

Pamela Romanowsky is a Brooklyn-based feature and short form writer and director with a passion for boundary-pushing narratives with complicated, richly drawn characters and that balance authenticity and humanity with stylish, dynamic visuals. Pamela’s debut feature film, The Adderall Diaries (starring James Franco, Ed Harris, Amber Heard), premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and was released theatrically by A24 in 2016. Pamela is an alumnus of The Sundance Institute’s Screenwriting, Directing, and Composition & Sound labs, the Creative Producing Summit and the Women at Sundance female filmmaker initiative, the Ryan Murphy Half Foundation, and the Warner Bros Television Directing Program. She studied behavioral psychology at Macalester College, verité documentary filmmaking with Barbara Kopple, and narrative screenwriting and directing at NYU, where she holds an MFA from Tisch’s graduate film program.

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