Riz Ahmed as Reuben, who lost his hearing, and Paul Raci as Joe in The Sound of Metal
You can never cross the same river twice. You will have changed and the river will have changed
-Paraphrase of Heraclitus
The Sound of Metal, nominated for several Academy Awards, is a fable for our time. It is more than that, of course, a superbly acted depiction of a musician who loses his hearing and spends the motion picture coming to terms with the change.
For much of the picture the musician holds out the hope and expectation that things will return to normal, the way they were. He abandons a retreat for the deaf to spend money he barely has on a complex operation with disappointing results, then re-unites with his girlfriend. In the end, the loss of love and treasure win him a painful wisdom.
The movie never alludes to what is happening with the pandemic, but the lesson is there for those who will see it. We will not pick up where we left off. People have died, symptoms have lingered, jobs have disappeared, businesses have closed and students missed two years of social life that is gone like water in Haraclitus’s river. Things will never be the way they were and we don’t know yet how they will be different.
24 April 2021, dl