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Theories of the text- academic summary - Essay Example

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Stilwell’s ‘so Sound and empathy Institution Sound and empathy: Subjectivity, Gender and the Cinematic Soundscape’: A Summary In the chapter ‘sound and empathy: subjectivity, gender and the cinematic soundscape’, robynn j. Stilwell explores the profound effect that sound can have on subjectivity and gender interpretations in cinema…
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Theories of the text- academic summary

Download file to see previous pages... The purpose of stilwell’s chapter on the importance of sound in cinematography and film is not to suggest that audio is more important than the visuals, but to explore why sound plays such an important part in the making of the film and to argue that more attention should be paid to the study of audio. Stilwell begins the analysis of sound by illustrating that sound is very different from light in many respects, although there is a temptation to separate sound (not just in film, but through life) into components like dialogue, effect and music. Stilwell argues that this may not be wise, as these are all intersecting aspects of the same audial landscape. Additionally, the dialogue may often overshadow interpretation of the music and effects, which can be taken on by specialists or often ignored altogether. Stilwell also argues that music and effects often play a more subliminal part for the audience than dialogue, but are integral to the experience of the film and thus should not be ignored academically. Stilwell then elaborates into the focus of the chapter: how subjectivity and gender are both part of the interpretation of the audio landscape. ...
This idea is backed up by the nature of cinema, including the ‘ego-gratifying identification with the male hero and the libidinal spectacularisation of the female body’ (stilwell, 2005). Stilwell then goes on to argue about the types of sound that can be experienced in the cinematic landscape and how these have semi-formal relationships with gender. In freudian analyses, the male voice is dominant and the female voice is submissive. In this sense, the male voice can be equated to important dialogue (as expressed before, the most noticeable part of the soundscape) and the female voice can be equated to music or effects. The link can be moved further: sound is the ignored feminine and visuals are the dominant masculine part of the film (Stillwell 2005). This aspects makes subjectivity be viewed as a complex concept. The author points out that subjectivity has overlapping meanings. Subjectivity varies according to meanings and can be understood the associated cultural coding. While female voice in films is associated subjectivity the females are expected to be submissive in many cultures including the western cultures. The author tries to point out that sound, especially hearing, is associated with irrational and emotional aspects. Sound is magnified by its subject, which is music. Music, emotions, and irrationality are highly associated with feminine inherent in culture. The alliance of music, irrationality, and emotion is woven into the psychoanalytic theory (Stillwell 2005). The same alliance has both positive and negative implications, specifically for the female subjectivity. These implications are further extended to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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