Should deaf children be given cochlear implants so that they can grow up as hearing people? In the shattering new documentary Sound and Fury, Peter Artinian, a deaf father from Glen Cove, Long Island, argues with combustible passion that his wily and joyful 4-year-old daughter, who is also deaf, should not be given the implant, medical miracle though it may be. Artinian, a zealous advocate of ''deaf culture,'' regards the prospect of a cochlear implant as both an insult to the deaf and a sinister attempt to rewire his daughter's soul.
Those who aren't deaf may find themselves in deep revolt against everything Artinian is saying. Yet the singular power of Sound and Fury is that no argument that gets made in it is remotely dismissable. Peter's story is contrasted with that of his brother, Chris, a hearing person who intends to give his deaf little boy the implant. The film, which immerses us in a blazing interfamilial war, engages issues of freedom, devotion, and identity that are nothing less than religious in their implications. It's a work of intimate and wrenching humanity. A