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Film CommentMichael Chion's books on film sound... have been revelotory syntheses of an expansive knowledge in elegant, accessible prose.
— Dell Tamblyn
French critic and composer Michel Chion argues that watching movies is more than just a visual exercise-it enacts a process of audio-viewing. The audiovisual makes use of a wealth of tropes, devices, techniques, and effects that convert multiple sensations into image and sound, therefore rendering, instead of reproducing, the world through cinema.
The first half of Film, A Sound Art considers developments in technology, aesthetic trends, and individual artistic style that recast the history of film as the evolution of a truly audiovisual language. The second half explores the intersection of auditory and visual realms. With restless inventiveness, Chion develops a rhetoric that describes the effects of audio-visual combinations, forcing us to rethink sound film. He claims, for example, that the silent era (which he terms "deaf cinema") did not end with the advent of sound technology but continues to function underneath and within later films. Expanding our appreciation of cinematic experiences ranging from Dolby multitrack in action films and the eerie tricycle of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining to the way actors from different nations use their voices and words, Film, A Sound Art showcases the vast knowledge and innovative thinking of a major theorist.
— Dell Tamblyn
— Kyle Stevens
Michael Chion's books on film sound... have been revelotory syntheses of an expansive knowledge in elegant, accessible prose.
Exceedingly teachable and surely welcomed by instructors.... Film, a Sound Art is indubitably an asset to the study of cinema.
Preface to the English Edition ix
Translator's Note xiii
Part 1 History
Chapter 1 When Film Was Deaf (1895-1927) 3
Chapter 2 Chaplin: Three Steps into Speech 21
Chapter 3 Birth of the Talkies or of Sound Film? (1927-1935) 31
Chapter 4 Jean Vigo: The Material and the Ideal 59
Chapter 5 The Ascendancy of King Text (1935-1950) 67
Chapter 6 Babel 85
Chapter 7 The Time It Takes for Time to "Harden" (1950-1975) 99
Chapter 8 The Return of the Sensorial (1975-1990) 117
Chapter 9 The Silence of the Loudspeakers (1990-2003) 147
Chapter 10 On a Sequence from The Birds: Sound Film as Palimpsestic Art 165
Part 2 Aesthetics and Poetics
Chapter 11 Jacques Tati: The Cow and the Moo 189
Chapter 12 The Disappointed Fairies Around the Cradle 201
Chapter 13 The Separation 221
Chapter 14 The Real and the Rendered 237
Chapter 15 The Three Borders 247
Chapter 16 Audiovisual Phrasing 263
Chapter 17 Alfred Hitchcock: Seeing and Hearing 281
Chapter 18 The Twelve Ears 289
Chapter 19 Orson Welles: The Voice and the House 321
Chapter 20 The Talking Machine 327
Chapter 21 Faces and Speech 353
Chapter 22 Andrei Tarkovsky: Language and the World 379
Chapter 23 The Five Powers 385
Chapter 24 God Is a Disc Jockey 407
Chapter 25 Max Ophuls: Music, Noise, and Speech 439
Chapter 26 Like Tears in Rain 453
List of Illustrations 501