Super Sounds

By Stephen de Villers | Drama
A deaf boy dreams of being a superhero. Then he meets a quirky girl.

A shy, lonely young boy with superhero aspirations roams around the small coastal town that he lives in. One night as he’s reading comics at a shop, he spots a curious, quirky girl, who in turn in intrigued by the boy. But when she spots him later and tries to strike up a conversation, he flees.

He’s afraid that she will discover his secret and does his best to avoid her. But she continues to try to reach out until the boy starts to find his courage — and a fortuitous encounter gives him the chance to act as the superhero he dreams of being.

This lovely family short — directed by Stephen de Villers and co-written by Chloe Gardner and Stephen de Villers — offers a sensuous, evocative immersion into the raw experience of its main character, a young boy set apart from the world. His existence is full of rich natural detail — the sounds of the ocean waves, the way the wind whips around him on the beach, the glint of the sun on the water — but he’s very alone.

Told with the least possible dialogue at the beginning, the storytelling moves forward with beautiful craftsmanship, with particularly luminous, lovely cinematography and camerawork. The approach at first is almost impressionistic, with a rich stream of images and a compellingly saturated sound design that situate the characters in a beautiful natural world, one that both the boy and girl drift through on their own and then weave around one another as they become aware of each other’s presence.

Actors Mieka Thompson Mills and Charlie Tonkin plays the girl and boy with great, self-contained grace, never over-playing emotions or decisions. They both juggle both the innocence of childhood with the weight of their relative dilemmas, in performances that feel natural and relaxed.

After building the world and the atmosphere of the young children’s world, the film slowly becomes more straightforward, especially as both characters take dynamic action to reach their goals. These actions are seemingly small but momentous, but they set up the pair’s serendipitous encounter, revealing to each other and the audience just what kept them apart. It also brings them together in a lovely, unaffected and thoroughly charming way, and offering the boy a chance to be a hero.

What’s heroic in “Super Sounds” isn’t what we think of when it comes to cinematic representations of it. Instead, the boy and girl’s meeting is focused on a more everyday kind of heroism: kindness, openness, friendliness and generosity of spirit. It sounds so seemingly easy, and yet its human scale and simplicity make the ending of the film so genuinely sweet, heartwarming and moving — and makes our own lives the same.

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