Harn Risk Cinema Series

Alan Berliner, The Sweetest Sound

7–9 PM
October 30, 2001

Harn Museum of Art
SW 34th Street & Hull Road
University of Florida

Alan Berliner is a lawyer in Columbus, Ohio. Alan Berliner is a social worker in Seattle, Washington. Alan Berliner is a celebrity photographer is Los Angeles, California. Tired of being mistaken for these people and anyone else who might share his name, Alan Berliner, the filmmaker from New York – not to be confused with Belgian filmmaker Alain Berliner – decides to rid himself of the dreaded Same Name Syndrome. His solution: invite all the Alan Berliners in the world over to his house for dinner.

With the intimacy and humor of a personal essay, Berliner dives headfirst inside the American name pool in search of the treasures and dangers hidden inside his own name. The Sweetest Sound (2001, United States, 60 minutes), starts out in search of identity and slowly transforms into a meditation on mortality. Along the way, he confronts his parents about the origins of his name, his sister about the names she gave her children and visits the Jim Smith Society, the National Linda Convention, the streets of New York, Holocaust name memorials, the Vietnam Memorial and the AIDS Quilt. He also stumbles upon some surprising news about name changes at Ellis Island. In the end, Berliner leaves us with a greater sense of the power and magic embedded in a name, and how all of our identities are inescapably shaped by what we call ourselves.

Berliner will introduce the film and take questions after the screening. Admission is free and open to the public.

The event is co-sponsored by the Harn Museum of Art’s Risk Cinema Series and UF’s Film and Media Studies Program. The Risk Cinema Series is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council; and the National Endowment for the Arts.