The Black Market: San Francisco Image

The Black Market: San Francisco

By Alan Ng | August 2, 2021

As mentioned earlier, The Black Market: San Francisco relies heavily on ASMR and is best watched using earphones with the volume raised. Dialogue is spoken in soft tones, and much of the ASMR auditory stimuli come from the ambient sounds of each location. For example, in the bookstore, we “feel” the subtle flipping of book pages, the opening of front doors, and each passing car. Likewise, transitions from the bookstore to a restaurant in Chinatown come with video images of the city streets, San Francisco Bay, and the preparation of dim sum in the kitchen.

My only advice for future attempts is “more.” Push the limits. Having seen a few ASMR videos, the key to success is volume. I liken it to watching a 3D picture. Yes, the effects are pretty cool from the start, but as time passes, unless you find ways to exploit the gimmick, we forget we’re watching 3D. I began to feel that once I got to the middle of the film. I was focused on the story unfolding and forget about the ASMR elements.

“…a love letter to San Francisco.”

But it’s not all about the gimmick. The Black Market: San Francisco is a love letter to San Francisco. There are tender moments between Elsa and a few customers who speak fondly of living there. In addition, they provide an extensive list of the city’s most sentimental landmarks, including Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, some of the classic theaters, etc. These landmarks are particular to its citizens and may be lost on those unfamiliar with the city, but then again, consider it a list of spots to visit if you ever have the chance.

The Black Market: San Francisco is not a traditional narrative. It makes a good attempt at using sound as part of its storytelling. What we have is a very relaxing title, and since this is a thriller, that stands as a testament to the movie’s experimental nature. The film is worth watching, considering everything it’s trying to accomplish.

The Black Market: San Francisco (2021)

Directed and Written: Alexander Roman

Starring: Christina Ros, Stevie Vallejo, David L. Klein, etc.

Movie score: 6.5/10

The Black Market: San Francisco Image

"…infuses dark noir with Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)..."

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