CINEMA OF NOISE: Notes

Listening to films.

"The ear goes more toward the within, the eye toward the outer." - Notes on the Cinematographer (1975), Robert Bresson

Listening

I’ve put together the Cinema of Noise series to express my appreciation for all those who spend their time creating engaging cinematic experiences through sound. The people who spend their hours with microphones, recording sounds, editing and pushing faders. With this my general aim for the series has been to present some interesting examples of filmsound. Detached from picture, many of these excerpts can be appreciated as sound pieces in-of-themselves; a ‘reduced’ listening experience like listening to music. But ultimately the real genius of the craft lies in what happens between picture and sound. How what we see and what we hear relate to one another.

Cinema of Noise by its very nature as a listening series is unable to encapsulate this kind of audio-visual experience. And while the Internet might not always provide the optimum conditions for attentive listening, the opportunity to share some of these excerpts hopefully ignites some deeper appreciation of the craft. Rendering these sounds into compressed, stereo files is a further compromise that does no justice to the effort spent perfecting these soundtracks for cinematic playback. Removed from context both in story and technological reproduction, the series can only ever attempt to present a brief snapshot into these films in all their cinematic glory.

I’ve tried to present a broad range of excerpts from around the world, often steering towards lesser-known films outside of Hollywood. Quite a few examples in the series demonstrate a degree of crossover between sound and music, asking us to consider how we define music in the context of film. Where does noise end and music begin? The line can blur in interesting ways.

At the core of this series is the idea of film as something that can compel us to listen. Ultimately I think the kind of film that's capable of creating such conditions is conceived on paper long before production beings. I therefore dedicate this listening series to those writers and directors who strive to engage their audience through their ears as much as their eyes.

rsz • updated: August 2016

 

* All film excerpts come from my personal collection of DVDs and Blu-ray discs. The Cinema of Noise listening series is not for commercial purposes, but for educational use and insight. I hope this spirit of inquiry is supported by the creators of these soundtracks. Any questions or issues, please contact me: robszeliga[a]gmail.com