Heavy weather: Michelangelo Antonioni, Tsai Ming-liang, and the poetics of environmental sound

Journal article


Birtwistle, A. 2014. Heavy weather: Michelangelo Antonioni, Tsai Ming-liang, and the poetics of environmental sound. Quarterly Review of Film and Video. 32 (1), pp. 72-90. https://doi.org/10.1080/10509208.2012.757529
AuthorsBirtwistle, A.
Abstract

While recent scholarship has done much to address the long-standing visual bias of film studies, there is perhaps one aspect of the film soundtrack that has remained relatively neglected by critical enquiry: namely, the use of sound effects, and in particular ambient or “atmos” sound. My aim in this article is to explore the cinesonic deployment of envi- ronmental sound through a comparative study of the work of Michelangelo Antonioni and Tsai Ming-liang—two directors who, I will argue, make significant use of this particular resource in articulating a shared concern with the conditions of modernity. In considering the ways in which environmental sound plays through the films of these particular direc- tors, my concern is not only to situate this aspect of the soundtrack in relation to matters of authorship, but also to frame the cinesonic use of environmental sound within a discussion of the poetics of noise. Thus I argue that, when auditioned within the context offered by politico-aesthetic formulations of noise, the environmental sounds of Antonioni and Tsai’s films communicate significant differences in the world-views of two directors whose work is often thought to share many similarities.

KeywordsMichelangelo Antonioni; Tsai Ming-liang; film sound; environmental sound; sound effects; soundtrack; modernity; wind; rain
Year2014
JournalQuarterly Review of Film and Video
Journal citation32 (1), pp. 72-90
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN1050-9208
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/10509208.2012.757529
Publication dates
Print28 Oct 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Sep 2015
Accepted12 Sep 2012
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/876z6/heavy-weather-michelangelo-antonioni-tsai-ming-liang-and-the-poetics-of-environmental-sound

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