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Besides the buzz around "Bully," the art house scene has been pretty quiet since the long string of Oscar players died out at the beginning of March. That will all change next Friday when Zal Batmanglij's "Sound of My Voice" finally hits theaters.
One of the more lauded films to debut at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, "Voice" is a seductive and thought provoking look into how a cult figure could gain prominence in 21st Century America. The dramatic thriller stars Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius as a Los Angeles couple who decide to investigate a small cult for a documentary they are producing (a scenario you can experience by watching the first 12 minutes of the film here). What they immediately encounter is a striking woman simply known as Maggie (co-writer Brit Marling) who claims she's from almost 40 years in the future. As the couple infiltrate the group, their allegiances and relationship is tested by Maggie's increasingly dangerous agenda. Moreover, is this woman really who she claims to be or something much more sinister? Batmanglij and Marling provide clues, but purposely let the audience make their own decision. (I have my own opinion on Maggie, but I'm not going to spoil the film by giving it to you.)
Some moviegoers may have seen Marling in last summer's "Another Earth" (another 2011 Sundance selection which she also co-wrote), but her work in "Voice" (like the film) is much more impressive. Batmanglij (brother of Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij for those that care) also displays a deft eye and sense of style that helps the indie look much more expensive that it truly cost. The duo have already reunited for Batmanglij's follow up, "The East," which co-stars Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Julia Ormond and Patricia Clarkson (among others). In fact, Fox Searchlight was so impressed by Marling and Batmanglij that they put "The East" into production last fall, months before "Voice's" release. In this day and age, that's a huge compliment.
Last month, I had a chance to sit down with Marling and Batmanglij at WonderCon for an in-depth chat about the film. We discussed the reactions different people have had to whether Maggie is from the future, the fact they know whether she is or not and the astonishing revelation that the picture was shot in only 18 days. It was a great conversation and well worth watching in the video embedded at the top of this post.
And don't miss "Sound of My Voice" when it opens in limited release on April 27.