(What I'd like to do in my Reconsidered posts is take a more in-depth look at films that I think have something to offer beyond the text. A solidly composed horror film is a wonderful thing, but a solidly composed horror film that keeps me thinking about it for days afterward is an even more wonderful thing and a joy forever. I'll be writing with the assumption that the reader is familiar with the basic plot and characters, so needless to say, all kinds of spoilers ahoy.)
A big part of Berberian Sound Studio is the way that Gilderoy becomes increasingly isolated by language - he doesn't speak Italian, and so for him (and anyone else watching the film who doesn't speak Italian), it's a very alienating experience - we can infer much of what's going on but we can't be for sure. There’s always some ambiguity at the least, and some parts of the film become downright impenetrable. And this is as much a part of the film as anything else - it’s about Gilderoy losing his way, losing himself in this very dysfunctional situation. So in this particular case, it isn’t so much about looking more closely at what’s already there as looking at what we can’t necessarily “see” because language keeps it hidden. So I watched the film again, this time with an English subtitle track that also translated all of the Italian dialogue. What I discovered was that watching the film with subtitles for the Italian didn’t completely change its meaning - it mostly just sharpened what was already there. It did, however, clarify some things, and to a certain extent, being less immersed in the isolating aspect of language highlighted some other ways that sound and silence are used to define Gilderoy’s relationship to the filmmakers.