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Aesthetics of Synchronization in Film

Publication Date 
Wed, Nov 20, 2013
Academic Term 
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By taking up the issue of sound-image synchronization, still little discussed in its ideological and aesthetic import both in musicology and film studies, Alessandra Campana argues for the inclusion of listening and hearing into image-based film theorizations. Examples from a number of films -- ranging from an early sound film such as Fritz Lang’s M, to 1940s American studio films, European art cinema and then to more recent experiments with digital video -- are studied for their different strategies in matching sound and image. Standard cinematic conventions for the creation of a seamless conjunction of images and sounds have masked or elided sound’s potential to work with, without, or against the image. Fritz Lang’s M, for instance, plays with the juxtaposition of visual evidence (the search for the murderer) and aural clues (the whistle, that haunts the soundtrack from the outset, often detached from the image of the whistling murderer). Or the main musical theme underscoring René Clair’s And then there were none (1945) and Otto Preminger’s Laura (1944), not only participate in the veiling and unveiling of the mysteries, but also become reified aural obsessions that pierce the conventional partition between image and sound.