‘Song of the New Earth’ keeps mystical tone in check
A movie review of “Song of the New Earth: Tom Kenyon and the Power of Sound”: Filmed partly on Orcas Island, this film is a portrait of the musician and Jungian seeker who thinks we’re in “a dark night of the soul right now.” It got three stars out of four.
Special to The Seattle Times
Movie Review ★★★
‘Song of the New Earth: Tom Kenyon and the Power of Sound,’ a documentary directed by Ward Serrill. 89 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains brief rough language). SIFF Cinema Uptown.
A heavy dose of mysticism drives this stimulating new documentary by Northwest-based filmmaker Ward Serrill, who won prizes for his 2006 basketball movie, “Heart of the Game.”
But whenever “Song of the New Earth” threatens to flirt with New Age clichés, Serrill grounds it with the true story of Tom Kenyon, a singer-musician, Brahms fan and Jungian seeker who grew up the son of a big-band singer and became a showbiz success on his own.
Through his music, and particularly his own freak voice (four octaves), Kenyon became fascinated with the relationship between sounds and the human brain.
He also claims to have made a connection with angels and advisers from Venus (illustrated with goofy animated sequences) who teach him about the nature of the cosmos.
Be that as it may (and the movie, which was shot partly on Orcas Island, invites you to be skeptical), Kenyon is no cockeyed optimist. He believes “we’re in a dark night of the soul right now,” and who would argue with him?
What saves him from becoming a humbug is a sense of humor and proportion. While he may believe in extraterrestrial forces, he’s not forcing those beliefs on the audience.
John Hartl: firstname.lastname@example.org