Asset Publisher
javax.portlet.title.customblogportlet_WAR_customblogportlet (Health is Global Blog)

Shhh! 8 Films That Explore the Topic of Noise and How It Can Affect Our Health

Photo: Kristina Flour / Unsplash.

[By Raül Toran, science outreach coordinator at ISGlobal, and Maria Foraster, researcher at ISGlobal.]


ISGlobal participates in Catalonia’s 2021 Week Without Noise – #SSSoroll2021

We all know that cities are synonymous with noise. However, we may not realise that this noise has a major impact on our health. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified traffic noise as the second most harmful environmental factor in Europe, right after air pollution.

ISGlobal is participating in Catalonia’s 2021 Week Without Noise by taking part in several activities designed to raise awareness about this issue. Under the slogan “Stop Noise”, this weeklong event runs from 26 April to 2 May, coinciding with International Noise Awareness Day.

You can scroll down to learn more about all the activities we will be involved in. But first, we want to highlight a selection of recent films that, in one way or another, explore the themes of silence, tranquillity, noise and its health effects.

This selection, titled “Acoustic Cinema”, was curated for the 2021 Week Without Noise by the Sabadell City Council and ISGlobal, with support from the Catalan Department of Territory and Sustainability.

This selection, titled “Acoustic Cinema”, was curated for the 2021 Week Without Noise

The selection includes the following documentaries, shorts and feature films:

1. Sonic Sea. Documentary. 2016. 60 minutes.

Directed by Michelle Dougherty and Daniel Hinerfeld. This film describes the devastating effects of industrial and military ocean noise on whales and other marine life.

Where to watch it: Vimeo.

2. Far from the Madding Crowd. 2015. 119 minutes.

Directed by Thomas Vinterberg. This romantic drama is based on the book of the same name (Thomas Hardy’s fourth novel and first major literary success).

Where to watch it: YouTube.

3. Silencio por favor. 2018. 17 minutes.

Directed by Carlos Villafaina. This autobiographical film was nominated for Best Short Film at the Gaudí Awards in 2019. Dani works in a factory and lives with his mother and his brother, who has cerebral palsy. He lands an internship at the local library, but an accident upends his plans for the day.

Where to watch it: Filmin.

4. The Silence that Remains. 2019. 71 minutes.

Directed by Amparo Garrido. In this film, the visual artist Amparo Garrido tells us the story of José Carlos, who has been blind since age six and has learned to identify more than 200 birds by ear.

Where to watch it: Filmin.

5. Noise. 2007. 92 minutes.

Directed by Henry Bean. The noise of New York City is driving David Owen crazy. This successful lawyer, played by Tim Robbins, embarks on a personal crusade against sirens, car alarms and other sources of noise. With the support of neighbours and followers, he takes on the mayor of the city.

Where to watch it: JustWatch.

6. A Quiet Place. 91 minutes.

Directed by John Krasinski. This film is about a family living in an isolated farmhouse in absolute silence, so as not to attract the attention of creatures with hypersensitive hearing.

Where to watch it: Prime Video.

7. Silence. 2016. 159 minutes.

Directed by Martin Scorsese. This film follows two Portuguese Jesuit priests who face violent persecution after travelling to Japan in the mid-17th century to spread the Christian faith.

Where to watch it: Filmin.

8. Gravity. 2013. 90 minutes.

Two astronauts, played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, have an accident while repairing a satellite and are left floating in space. This British-American science fiction film was directed, produced, co-written and co-edited by Alfonso Cuarón. Winner of seven Academy Awards.

Where to watch it: HBO.


ISGlobal at the 2021 Week Without Noise

In addition to organising Acoustic Cinema, ISGlobal is participating in the 2021 Week Without Noise with “Sounds on the Balcony”, an activity co-organised with La Salle–Ramon Llull University (URL). We will also be taking part in “Solutions to Reduce Noise Pollution”, a panel discussion organised by the Catalan Association of Telecommunications Engineers (

Sounds on the Balcony

The Media Technologies Research Group at La Salle–URL and ISGlobal are collecting videos to create a sound map of Catalonia one year after the first COVID-19 lockdown.

We are collecting videos to create a sound map of Catalonia one year after the first COVID-19 lockdown

This citizen science initiative invites members of the public to grab their smartphone and take five minutes to contribute to the study and improve the acoustic environment of Catalonia.

Participation is as simple as recording a smartphone video from your balcony or window and completing a survey on how you perceive your surroundings.

The aim of this initiative is to map the soundscape of Catalonia one year after lockdown using 30-second videos recorded from the balconies and windows of people’s homes. An analysis of this residential soundscape will provide valuable information about the well-being of the population.

Videos and survey responses will be collected from 26 April to 7 June.

Solutions to Reduce Noise Pollution

On 28 April, the Catalan Association of Telecommunications Engineers ( will be hosting a panel discussion titled “ Solutions to Reduce Noise Pollution”, featuring key players in the fight against noise. After raising awareness, we must take action. This session will help us visualise the various proposals and actions that have been planned or are being put into practice.

ISGlobal researcher and URL lecturer María Foraster will be on the panel to discuss the health effects of noise.

Click here for more information or to register free of charge.


More information

Programme of activities for the 2021 Week Without Noise – #SSSoroll2021.