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What's in a name? Names are the opening words to our life stories. With intimacy, humor and his own inimitable style, Alan Berliner dives headfirst into the American name pool in search of the treasures and traps hidden in names — especially his own.

From the Archives

Outtakes from the 2001 interview about the making of The Sweetest Sound.

Filmmaker Interviews

Filmmaker Alan Berliner offers a documentary about his own name as a way for people to learn more about their own names and what they mean.

  • Updated on March 25, 2015

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Film Information

The Sweetest Sound (60 min.)

Premiere Date: June 26, 2001

Streaming Dates: Expired

Photos: Download Here

Trailer: Link

Filmmaker: Alan Berliner Bio | Interview | Statement


Alan Berliner
Alan Berliner

Every film I make begins as an inquiry, a process, a series of questions that need to be asked, a set of fascinations that won't go away...”

— Alan Berliner, Filmmaker


Critical Acclaim

…an excellent film…a classic example of what eccentric, heavily authored documentary making is all about…quirky, progressively involving investigation in the meanings, both etymological and cultural of names…and the crucial importance of names within the increasingly cacophonous babble of modern urban existence.”

&mdash Lisa Mullen, Time Out London

In signature Berliner obsessive overdrive, he goes up one side and down the other of the name issue, eventually tracking down all the Alan Berliners in the world and inviting 12 of them to dinner in his NY home. The result is alternately hilarious…informative, thoughtful, and sobering-and always brilliant.”

&mdash Louis Black, The Austin Chronicle

In what could have turned out to be the ultimate act of narcissism, Alan Berliner has made a fascinating…wry, contemplative, brilliantly edited cine-essay… exploring the origins, metaphysics and psychological implications of names….(an) original, provocative and deeply satisfying movie…”

&mdash Joel Siegel, Washington, D.C. CityPaper

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