movements including Bertolt Brecht, Antonin Artaud, Dadaism, Surrealism, German observing that, “far from being just a psychological drama about courage. The torrent rushes forward. Love is victorious. May God have mercy upon us. (p. ). Creon calls in his horsemen and. dramatic theatre, Brecht's innovations are considered precisely as part of the dra- work': among the graves he realized Jorge Semprún's Bleiche Mutter. THE LISTENER SEASON 4 EPISODE 3 TORRENT Caught the do application select 2, Configure Chrome the beginning. The certainly desktop Protecting for more screen Raspberry Pi the device. Thursday, as to. The parameter of 3" at is the on, for.
Table of contents 10 chapters Search within book Search. Front Matter Pages i-vii. Fooling with Falstaff Tim Prentki Pages Fooling with Love Tim Prentki Pages Fooling with Kings Tim Prentki Pages Fooling with Reason Tim Prentki Pages Fooling with Contradiction Tim Prentki Pages Fooling with Revolution Tim Prentki Pages Fooling with Existence Tim Prentki Pages Fooling with Applications Tim Prentki Pages Back Matter Pages About this book Why is folly essential to the functioning of a healthy society?
Why is theatre a natural home for madness? From Falstaff to Fo via Figaro, this study examines the art of telling truth to power and surviving long enough to have a laugh. Back to top. Keywords Europe stage theatre William Shakespeare. Reviews 'Tim Prentki has written an insightful book that chronicles the power of laughter from a remarkable variety of historic and literary perspectives.
This book is also for my daughters, who fill my days with noise and laughter, and who give me the strength I need to keep imagining the future and speaking out for progressive change. They subject us to many hostile noises of life, along with sonically stressing the preciousness of humanity that we must perceive in order to save it. We can easily take our senses, especially our sense of sound, for granted. Millions of people around the world are engaging with this idea by watching a new genre of YouTube videos: footage of people hearing or seeing for the first time.
These videos capture the extraordinary in the ordinary, celebrating the power of those abilities that most of us have stopped consciously appreciating. In a recent article for The New Yorker, Joshua Redman examines the exhilarating sense of newness that we can thus experience by proxy. Drawing on the work of the philosopher L. One YouTube video shows a woman named Sarah Churman testing a new hearing aid for the first time Churman As soon as she hears her own voice, she is both delighted and shocked.
She struggles to speak over her own laughing and crying. Offscreen, her husband gently laughs with her, and we realize that she is probably hearing him for the first time too. This scholarship is not only an important corrective to the visually biased work that came before it, but also reminds us that film can aurally represent reality, which in turn prompts us to perceive the world in new ways.
Though we cannot necessarily have transformative experiences precisely like those of Churman, we are only beginning to collectively understand what films can do to reawaken our capacity to hear. And even if we can never return to the initial glory of aural stimulus as Murch imagines it, this reawakening has lasting, multilayered implications. His sound tracks make us listen to every move of his main characters, as well as every single thing they could choose to hear in the world around them.
Haneke himself has repeatedly observed the waning power of images that have lost the capacity to shock, especially in the current multimedia context through which we are bombarded with visual information on a daily basis. This is a huge part of what makes his films especially demanding and discomfiting.
Every chapter of this book begins from a place of curiosity, by asking questions about how each film fosters our greater aural alertness in broadly applicable terms. Listening attentively to Code Unknown means acknowledging disparate voices within a multicultural context and understanding the violence of not listening to those same voices. Listening to Funny Games means having to hear a level of suffering that many other thrillers do not require that we perceive, and especially the excruciating pain of a family being victimized.
Every aural detail of The White Ribbon gives us a psychoanalytically terrifying context for the outbreak of World War One. As painful as the narratives of his films are, they offer us the transformative possibilities of new sonic awareness. To put it another way, the ear provides a more direct path to the imagination and to the heart of human beings. His films subject us to experiences of disturbance, desperation, grief, betrayal, and many forms of violence. They are unsoftened by music, punctuated by accosting noises, shaped by painful silences, and charged with aggressive dialogue.
The director has become a controversial subject of scholarly debate, as well as one of the most celebrated living filmmakers. Haneke himself is often accused of being coldly dispassionate about the traumas he shows us: the director and the nastiest actions within his work are thus frequently, problematically aligned. So, the above quotation, in which he expresses his interest in our hearts as well as our imaginations, is surprising.
The strong patterns among his films make them ripe for auteurist analysis. He has received much recent mainstream acclaim too. We will thus echo the films themselves, for their sound tracks often demand greater attention, or communicate more immediate meaning, than their visuals.
He thus textually indicates how much he consciously foregrounds sound, even in preproduction. We dwell only on those comparative examples that we have space to consider at length. This book is not about establishing Haneke as a lone pioneer: it is, rather, about finding some new ways to perceive his aural radicalism.
Michael H. The result is a ghoulish and sensationalistic distortion of the time his films allow for us to absorb what happens and why it matters, and the special quiet after every culminating moment of violence. The documentary thus reinforces the critical myopia about Haneke, the preexisting misunderstandings that have led to judgments about him and his films being indefensibly cruel.
Instead of sharing the experience the spectator must come to grips with things. At the same time it would be quite wrong to try and deny emotion to this kind of theatre. It would be much the same thing as trying to deny emotion to modern science. Therefore, to assume his failure to acknowledge the inevitability of emotional reactions is to underestimate the complexity of his dramaturgical approach. For Brecht, the kind of theatre that prompts audiences to align themselves wholeheartedly with its protagonists may disable those same audiences from being able to step back enough to assess the social meaning of what they see.
Haneke certainly dissuades us from empathizing with his characters, not least because many of his protagonists bear the same names variations on George and Anne , thereby encouraging us to view them as representative beings rather than as sharply individuated characters with whom we can identify. At the same time, Haneke gives us these narratives with such a Brechtian emphasis on stylistic unconventionality that we must comprehend their form and socially loaded significance, even while we are deeply disturbed by their content.
In the context of discussing his own unconventional use of music in The Threepenny Opera, Brecht explicitly warns against using music to aestheticize drama , Even when Haneke does use the inherently affective power of music, it never straightforwardly lightens or brings elegance to the action. He never softens his traumatic stories with any aesthetically pleasing or emotionally coercive sound, the impact of which might encourage us to suspend our critical faculties.
Haneke protects us from becoming so engulfed by artistic style that we lose sight of what any action means. The Gestus is a moment on stage through which a whole social situation can be read. This moment combines a physical gesture with a gist or attitude that is memorably revealing.
Brecht wrote the play during the Second World War but it is set during the Thirty Years War of the seventeenth century, thus using historical reference points to comment on the sociopolitical desperation of the present. The central character of the play is Anna Fierling, a mother of three who runs a canteen and makes profit from the war by trailing the army and trading with soldiers. In this moment from Mother Courage we understand the impact of the past how Mother Courage has failed her son and the impact of the present the shock and grief she cannot release , along with anticipating the sadness of her future.
The Gestus sums up an entire personal and social situation. She must not scream for her own safety, highlighting her social context. With each chapter of this book, we zero in on many sonic moments that are charged on multiple levels of meaning, and likely to create surprise and astonishment in terms of breaking with cinematic norms. First, consider that her silence is crucial: it is the shock of not hearing her that makes the moment so memorable.
Nothing needs to run parallel. However, the sound track of The Seventh Continent still lends itself strongly to a Marxist reading, as we shall see. This is a common usage of the term in sound track studies, as opposed to the strictly musical definition of the term as meaning polyphony or interweaving melodic strands for example, in a fugue texture.
Similarly, Haneke repeatedly shows everyday surroundings along with sounds of familiar things that are amplified beyond the norm, prompting us to critically consider the worlds that his characters move within, as well as the characters themselves. It is an appeal for a cinema of insistent questioning in place of false because too quick answers, for clarifying distance in place of violating nearness. Chapter 4 is a postcolonial approach to Code Unknown as it aurally stresses both diversity and possible unity within a narrative about contemporary French cultural politics.
Chapter 7 delves into the subtextual aural logic of The White Ribbon from a psychoanalytic perspective, using Lacanian concepts of the Symbolic and the Real to explain its historical weight and nightmarish resonance. None of these approaches to the films is meant to place restrictions on how they might be perceived but, instead, to show how much they reward close analysis through particular ways of hearing.
After all, despite his overtly stated intentions, Haneke is not didactic about what precise meanings we should take from his films. Is it possible for sound effects to amplify the horror of a family choosing to die without reveling in their tragedy? What sonic patterns can establish a director as an aural auteur? Can a sound track make us newly alert to what threatens humanity in the real world? In other words, the echoing The Seventh Continent names across his films invite us to read his cinema as a coherent body of work.
This, in turn, relates to his emphasis on making social, and often transnational, statements over and above stories of uniquely defined people. Other sonic patterns are equally, stridently Hanekean. We are forced to perceive the aural impact of every action because the texture is usually comparatively thin, and most noises are closely miked.
The film thus amplifies the tangibility of the diegetic space as well as denying us the possibility of becoming engulfed in a wash of homogenized sound effects. The relentless emphasis on aural detail makes the sound track of The Seventh Continent an intensely physical experience, one that invests numerous banal objects with life. This has the result of keeping us consistently alert and on guard, even when we witness everyday scenes. Because the music infrequently demands attention to itself, those occasions when it comes to the fore are all the more commanding.
The most obvious moments of quiet come with the blackouts that punctuate many sequences. Haneke himself explains that the blackouts get longer when there is more to contemplate Brunette , 13 : thus the absence of aural and visual stimulus is far from straightforward negation in that it allows for the positive possibilities of interpretation. The blackouts with silence prompt us to ask questions, or approach answers, without ever providing a sense of closure in themselves.
Throughout The Seventh Continent, silences are also used in the contexts of abbreviated or fragmented conversations. Silences suggest subtext, unspeakable reaction, avoidance, denial, confrontation, and sometimes, more positively and rarely, peace and acceptance.
The audiovisual rhythm of The Seventh Continent is noticeably irregular, further enforcing our alertness, and making the traumatic representations of suicide all the more disturbing. So how do you have a deeper impact on the viewer? One of the possibilities is the rhythm, which is what film is actually all about. Were we to summarize the impact of film in further musical terms, we would say that its timbre is consistently abrasive. We might compare its repeated details such as the image of Australia or the blackouts to serial music in that each repetition is more like the manipulation of a tone row than the return of a familiar melody or identifiable leitmotif.
This is a representative moment combining banality the everyday word with terror the news of bombings. Their routine greeting underlines their separation from the world at large, long before their death. Further, he says: I believe that every art form works with structures, and structures are produced by repetitions. Without exception the repetitions and variations in my films have their basis in music. Eisenstein privileged music to the extent of extensive collaborations with Prokofiev Alexander Nevksy  and Ivan the Terrible, Part 1  and Ivan the Terrible, Part 2  being the key examples.
Although Haneke usually privileges sound effects over music, the fact of his writing sonic details into his screenplays parallels this kind of process whereby aural cues are treated as much more than mere accompaniment to visual action. The repetitive sonic structure of The Seventh Continent can be usefully contrasted with that of a much more recent film, The Tree of Life The latter film deals with some disturbing themes of death and domestic violence, but it is sonically structured around calming repetitions of voiceover phrases, musical cues, and sound effects that evoke a cumulative sense of macrocosmic cycles as powerful as the waves on shore that we see in its climactically unifying final sequence.
We will therefore continue to apply musical concepts to his cinema where appropriate. We include the timings of crucial sound effects and dialogue, as well as for music cues, to stress that all aural elements demand our interpretative attention. We see the family inside the car, but cannot hear them. There is no conversation in competition with this automatic process, one that requires that the family sit passively in waiting.
Towards the end of the washing, as the car is moving slowly forward, signs in front of the car come into prominent view. The opening throws us in medias res, disallowing us the freedom to feel any measure of control over the sounds that happen to us along with its characters. Even when the family subsequently seems to control the sounds of the film, or when the sounds do not come solely from an automated machine like the car wash, the sound track is accosting.
Because each sound consistently amplifies the action and agency that we cannot immediately attach to a face, sound itself has a disturbing presence, one that suggests equivalency between the car wash a faceless automation and the members of the family. Their lines of dialogue are seldom forte, and are combined with the sounds of machines and numerous things related to domestic duties or public activities. This pattern prompts us to repeatedly perceive the family as representatively objectified consumers instead of individuals with independent agency.
Their very existence is inseparable from the things they purchase. Though we might therefore feel a high degree of detachment from the family and the entire film, The Seventh Continent requires a high level of emotional engagement. The voices that are often separated from faces, along with the frequent speech coming from offscreen, make us long for the phantasmatic cinematic union of face and body or the implied restoration of humanity.
If 23 24 Hearing Haneke way of representing people as coherently intact and audibly in control of their world that we cannot help feeling what it denies us. The ending of the film provides no restorative comfort either: a written statement explains that the family were discovered and an inconclusive investigation was conducted. The allusion to an actual police investigation relates to the fact that Haneke decided to create the film after reading of a similar family that actually committed suicide Wheatley , The Seventh Continent repeatedly reminds us how easily humanity can get lost in a context of endless consumerism and empty speech.
Their conversations are reserved, and the personal letters read in voiceover are relatively unrevealing. Therefore, the voiceovers ironically deny us the sense of closeness often afforded by the same technique in other films. He makes the most unguarded emotional noise in the film, but she is still guarded in responding.
We explore the atypical use of voiceover in The White Ribbon much further in the chapter about that film. Each child becomes indistinct in the lineup of regimented jumps. The closest we can get to the main characters is by hearing as they do. We hear every sound the family makes as if we were within their space: almost all their actions are amplified, enforcing an impression of physical alignment, if not intimacy, with them.
The sounds of The Seventh Continent are seldom overtly subjective, so we are not straightforwardly connected to the family, but we are forced to hear a world against them as they might. Evi may be one of the girls that jumps, but we cannot tell which one: the point is not to separate her from the others, but to demonstrate that she is but one of many girls who will be routinely commanded this way.
The ordinary action of the girls is made strange through the absence of their faces and the emphasis on the sounds of their patterned movement on command. The scene thus defamiliarizes ordinary action, encouraging our distance from it, but also draws us in enough to notice Evi being lost in the visual flurry. It is shocking to see children being audiovisually represented as such regimented objects, and we cannot help noticing that Evi is unidentifiable in the flurry.
Perhaps Evi herself wishes to break from this pattern by claiming her own difference: in an early scene, she feigns blindness at school. Her pretense suggests her desire to perceive things differently, and perhaps through hearing more than seeing. In earlier scenes the film establishes a pattern of sounds ending or entering with the cut to an image.
The voice being attached to a black screen suggests that Evi is in darkness, both literally and symbolically. The slap is amplified while everything else in the scene is comparatively quiet. Indeed, her relative quiet, and her minimal speech, disallows us closeness with her and poignantly underlines her aloneness. This is the truth of a child living as a controlled object. The Seventh Continent by an assaulting sonic burst. Experiencing the film means being subjected to sound after sound that connotes pain, injury, shock, effort, or tediousness, even in everyday scenes.
Its sounds rarely mean kindness, communicating a world of unending callousness. Indeed, sound is a form of violence in The Seventh Continent. The destruction begins with a piercing screech of the kitchen tap when Anna turns it on to make coffee a sound repeated from the opening breakfast scene . The film has an ABA structure, in that the destruction sequence repeats many such details from the exposition. However, as Anna is preparing breakfast, she hears a new sound of banging in the next living room.
She enters that space to find Georg has knocked down shelves, with Evi standing by. Though we now see her face clearly, her reaction is strangely difficult to read in the absence of speech see Figure 2. Next, we see the family enjoy an extravagant breakfast including champagne, expensive cheese, and deli meats, though they remark on none of it with pleasure.
Here, they eat their last extravagant meal before destroying everything they own. This visual reminder of how we first saw them together as hands at the table suggests their unchanging selves, and that their desire to die was present from the beginning. Her parents break records, empty desks, tear the sofa, rip up photo albums, axe and saw through furniture and bathroom fixtures, mirrors and glass. The full sight of them, along with the rush of water, brings a sense of release.
But this release also entails killing. Leave me! Throughout this sequence, the timbre of each sound effect is amplified with the sort of calculated cumulative affect that is traditionally associated with musical scoring. In addition, there is no music to soften the impact: instead, the film consistently requires our aural alertness to human loss and destruction. The sound track stresses that the world of things has won insofar as there is so much to destroy, and the result is a mess of pieces rather than any one thing being fully annihilated.
By the end of this sequence, the sense of aural erosion has reached a peak. The sound becomes prominent on the cut to a shot directly outside her shopfront, though the drilling begins earlier, while an old female patient tells Anna a nasty tale from her childhood: when her classmates teased a little girl for being ugly with eyeglasses, she took revenge by cursing them all into losing their perfect sight.
Although we might not register such subtle details as the drill, we cannot help noticing the strange sonic violence of many everyday actions in The Seventh Continent. Even an ordinary trip to the supermarket is a memorably affronting aural experience.
When Anna and Georg pick out groceries bread sticks in plastic wrapping, clinking wine bottles, meat chopped at the deli , the sound track is dominated by each thing, and we again lose sight of their faces. The drama on the screen can exist without actors.
A banging door, a leaf in the wind, waves beating on the shore can heighten the dramatic effect. The drilling continues subtly until a cut to black . Among other things, Bazin championed widescreen and minimal editing to allow the audience the depth of field and freedom to survey images as they might in their own natural world, at their own pace. Despite the narrative revolving around the family, the sound track is never dominated by their speech.
Instead, it is broken up by a choppy structure of unpredictably featured objects with extremely different tonal properties, pitches, dynamics, and rhythms. Speech is comparatively sparse or abruptly cut short, most notably with the radio news broadcasts that are routinely switched off. Each of the three films culminates in a seemingly irrational act of violence that forces us to confront the many harms of contemporary societies Sterritt Again, being subjected to his sound track means being constantly on the alert, and never having the impression of seamless or familiar understandability.
The use of anempathetic diegetic music makes us feel social dispassion in another deceptively simple, devastatingly plausible way. And the concerto itself is a deeply contradictory, ambiguous experience, one that evades simplistic assertions of transcendence or beauty.
The other instruments join the violinist gradually, but then break away Anderson Toward the end of the piece, the Carinthian folk tune from the Allegretto movement returns, alluding to the girl as she lived. We thus have a work of extremely opposing ideas: it evokes life and death, communal strength and disturbing divisiveness, togetherness and isolation, optimism and anxiety.
Lord, when it pleases Thee, Relieve me of my yoke! My Jesus comes: So goodnight now, O world! It is enough. The entire musical work is sometimes achingly lovely, and sometimes frighteningly turbulent. These contrary impressions are in the structural tensions of the music itself, playing as it does upon slippery distinctions between tonality and atonality, predictability and unpredictability. Though the fragment that we hear in The Seventh Continent is from the Adagio, one of the loveliest sections of the entire work, we must remain conscious of what it means in the context of that same work about the premature death of more than one child.
The overall concerto takes us through a multidimensional experience of grief. It literally ends on an ambiguous chord. If we consider that Evi is watching a boat pass as the music plays, it takes on another dimension within the diegesis. The aural motif of a boat horn subtly punctuates several scenes of The Seventh Continent, and it recurs moments after this particular music cue is abruptly cut off. The music being suddenly brought back to earth that is, to the diegesis in this abrupt manner undercuts romantic readings of its uplifting implications.
As Oliver C. Speck writes, Haneke repeatedly emphasizes the tragedy of a child being denied the chance to grow up. This other music rises shortly before Evi dies, when Anna brings her sleeping pills diluted in milk, presumably for making her insensible to a lethal injection. Evi drinks the milk while she is watching television with her father. That the lyrics are within a commercially successful musical product does not negate their resonance.
Indeed, the lyrics are thrown into new, sharp relief by their consonance with what is happening onscreen in The Seventh Continent. Evi is in a red tracksuit, the color foreshadowing her death. But a deeper reading of the song allows for emotionally gripping, and deeply disturbing, interpretive possibilities. Anna puts her arm around Evi, matching the rising intimacy of the lyrics. Whenever you reach for me. The film cuts to show Rush on television, at her crooning height of expressivity.
The film cuts back to show Rush on television. The television is shown sitting atop trash and on an angle, so its image is skewed, just as every structural component of the song exists in clear but skewed relation to the reality of the diegesis: the song is about deep love, and this is presumably what Anna feels for Evi, and yet her decision to have Evi join her in death is a perverted form of love.
The sound of your heart beating. Evi lies still against Anna, both Anna and Georg appear immobile. The film cuts to black. The intersection between lyrics and diegetic action is so clear as to seem initially overdetermined, perhaps even trite. The Seventh Continent cannot dismiss the strength of the song from a critical, ironic, or cynical perspective, for its every lyric resonates with what Georg and Anna have decided for their family.
And this sense of structural order hurts because it feels wrong: we cannot help knowing Evi will die, an ultimate kind of disorder. Summary The Seventh Continent features unconventionally heightened sound effects and complex music cues. The sounds of every scene relay a consumerist society in which comparative affluence masks a deep reality of humanity under threat: in particular, the noises of things dominate, animating objects so that they seem to have more power than people.
The film is designed to sensitize its audience to every single aural detail. The characters seem oblivious to the noises they make and the sounds of many things around them, but the film sonically registers their every move in the world. If we are listening carefully to The Seventh Continent, we can newly perceive the immorality of a society that puts things before people, and the unnaturalness of people living like objects.
When does the absence of sound have profoundly unique meaning, even within a narratively generic context? But its overall sound track makes witnessing violence more consistently serious. The sound tracks of the films are extremely similar in that they share the same prominent music cues and patterns of diegetic sound, along with featuring parallel visual details.
That said, there are inevitable differences between the original Funny Games and Funny Games USA, especially given that their different casts speak in German and English, respectively. Leland Monk provides a strong account of their differences. We limit our focus to the earlier version and its original impact.
Instead, Funny Games shows the father, Georg, asserting his authority early on demanding the killers, Paul and Peter, leave his home, and slapping Paul in the face , but soon becoming incapacitated when Paul smacks his legs with a golf club. Obviously and ironically, then, Funny Games relies on audiences drawing upon their previous experiences of violent cinema in order to understand what makes it unique. And Funny Games not only demands our aural alertness to its own specific processes, but also demands that we rehear all those other films that show the loss of human life with less care.
We consistently refer to them as Paul and Peter for convenience only. Though the diegetic sounds of Funny Games are mostly more subtle than those of The Seventh Continent, the film still places perceivable sonic emphasis on every movement of the characters within a domestic space.
Like The Seventh Continent, Funny Games disrupts that space through numerous surprising moments of sonic impact that require we be unusually engaged. However, the film so relentlessly uses the shock value of sound that it never feels generic in the sense of being safely formulaic.
Its sound track always disallows us the luxury of being able to predict how the action will unfold, thus giving us a destabilizing experience that intensifies every violent act. Disrupting Expectations, from the Beginning Funny Games emphasizes the illusion of being in knowable territory, but only to upset our sense of security almost immediately.
Always people from middle class families who committed crimes neither for revenge, nor to get rich, but only for the pleasure of feeling a sensation. This disturbed me. And that was what triggered this story. The first scene establishes deceptive calmness through several tracking long shots of an SUV with a sailboat attached, driving through the Austrian countryside in summer.
The shots position us as outsiders, passively watching from a distant position. At the start of the film, we hear operatic music fade in. Their smug privilege is represented by the opera game they play, and the parents knowing all the answers between them.
But this game is very suddenly, and musically, disrupted. Though the disjunct between the between title and images here might seem somewhat playful, its extremity is undeniably disturbing. Funny Games is visually unaffected by this musical intrusion, though we might read their expressions differently Georgie, for example, suddenly looks pensive where before he seemed quietly happy : Anna and Georg continue to delightedly play their own musical game.
Here, however, we cannot escape the danger signified by the strained relationship between what we see and what we hear. This knowingly preposterous detail potentially reminds us of the artificiality in any other cinematic moments when music intensifies terror. However, the film still sidesteps creating a pleasurable generic experience through the extremity of this same music: it callously, sardonically, and ironically makes us all too uncomfortably aware of how things will go.
Funny Games the music of high culture is directly connected with the threat of violence. To overlook this intertextual association would be to partake in the bourgeois complacency of privileging high culture that Haneke consistently critiques in his films. When the family arrives at their lake house, we do not see them enter the space right away. As we see the family dog wandering into the house on his own, we hear Anna telling her son what he needs to do: take things upstairs, open windows, and unpack.
While the parents lose vocal control, most obviously in their involuntary cries of pain, shock, or grief, the killers always maintain mastery of their own voices. The film includes works by Schumann, Schubert, Bach, and Beethoven, all of which might connote emotional warmth in a different narrative context.
Instead, the music of this film is inextricably connected with the central character who is defined by her alienation from others, violent fantasies, and painfully sexualized repression. Thus any consolatory connotations or lofty aspirations potentially connoted by the music are thrown into cruel relief.
We return to this central irony in the chapter on that film. It takes several minutes for her to bring Georg to this relative calm. By contrast, Paul Arno Frisch , never loses his capacity to authoritatively command and control the sounds he makes.
Throughout the film with the exception of one moment where Anna nearly stops him ,17 Paul can make his voice change at will rather than involuntarily surrendering vocal control, and mostly maintains the even keel of his voice. That said, his presence is always meant to be more odd than charismatically coercive to us. This direction leads to a level of tonal strangeness that consistently enforces our alertness: narratively we are in familiar territory, but sonically we are not.
Where Anna has to tell both her husband and her son to listen, Paul repeatedly ensures that the three of them always hear him. He even assumes our being his receptive audience through directly addressing the camera. Clover coined the term in her groundbreaking, feminist analysis of violent cinema: the final girl faces death alone, and she is the only one with the necessary strength to survive, whether by waiting long enough for a rescue or by killing the monster herself , So, who will you bet with?
He thus taunts us with our own participation in the film. In the world of Funny Games, listening becomes a terrifying activity for us, as well as for the family. Haneke has repeatedly vocalized his Brechtian commitment to making the constructions within his films manifest. This is a way of stressing the limitations of cinema to portray reality. First, Funny Games builds fearful anticipation through many small sounds that become associated with great danger. For instance, the sound of Peter breaking eggs offscreen after he has troubled Anna for them is slight and momentary , yet the sound is retrospectively frightening in connection with his being able to stay too long.
Being duped by or made to fear such seemingly ordinary sounds is part of what makes Funny Games deeply unsettling. There is also the small sound of a golf ball when Paul and Peter return to the house after capturing Anna.
Just as ordinary diegetic sounds have surprisingly startling impact within Funny Games, words shift in terrifying ways. The pauses around the words weight every detail of dialogue, even when the words are ordinary in themselves. The silences demand that we wait along with them for the revelations that hurt all the more for taking too long. Though The Seventh Continent uses much pausing, and there are many blackouts with silence, the quiet moments within Funny Games are more persistent and frightening.
Comparatively speaking, in sound track studies, there is little work focused on the meaning of aural absences. When Walsh writes about the palpable power of absence, he does so with reference to various works of art, music, and literature in which there are pieces notably left out or missing: for instance, he refers to the missing arms and left foot of the Venus de Milo, a statue we might imaginatively reconstruct Funny Games anything verbally included.
Certainly, the many absences of sound in Funny Games are conspicuous. His essential argument goes like this: since we are born into uncertainty and limitations, and since we grow to understand the inadequacies of language to communicate, we might see our own consciousness reflected in the notable absences within artistic works. Artistic works with notable absences can thus, for Walsh at least, becomes a subtle form of mimesis.
Most of the quiet moments in Funny Games build toward an experience that is initially unnerving, eventually harrowing, and unsettlingly unfinished rather than cathartic or epistemologically consoling. More positively speaking, the absent sounds necessitate our active engagement by placing an onus on us to make meaning from them.
One scene of such perceptual significance revolves around the killers forcing Anna to strip down. The action itself references countless moments within other films where female bodies are critically scrutinized as well as voyeuristically shown.
However, Funny Games makes the process of seeing a woman strip down extremely uncomfortable because there is no music or other sound to detract attention from the agony that Anna feels. When the film cuts back to Anna unclasping her bra and taking off her underpants, only her head and neck are shown see Figure 3. Not an ounce of flab. In the final sequence of Alien, the protagonist and last survivor Ripley Sigourney Weaver has stripped down to a skimpy camisole and underpants when she becomes aware of the alien onboard her emergency aircraft.
This sonically signifies a familiar connection between sexual and violent narrative climaxes. In sum, the scene sexualizes Ripley, builds suspense about whether she can physically survive, and gives us aurally enforced, absolute closure at her hands. From a feminist perspective, the sonic emphasis on stripping down the female body as a cruel event has radical implications. Funny Games, by contrast, explores the cost of believing this.
In this particular quiet, the film most explicitly asks us to feel the impact of everything the family suffers, along with giving us time to process it. We need this time after the biggest aural shock. Peter selects a program showing uninterrupted car racing . More immediately, the car racing creates a monotonous baseline of sound that makes the gunshot that much more startling. Within this film, a mother of two must defend herself against a convicted murderer in the absence of her husband.
Near the end of the film, she manages to kill him herself, becoming another fantasy final girl who, unlike Anna from Funny Games, is extraordinarily able to take control of the situation. The director says: The sound track gives spectators more freedom to imagine their own picture; the image itself is rather a handicap in that it limits the scope of imagination. Since nowadays only experimental film uses this fact, it plays no role in conventional cinema. It is therefore, I believe, not all too difficult, to jolt spectators out of their attitude of consumerism.
To return to the scene itself, just after the gunshot that kills Georgie, Paul pauses for a second in the preparation of his sandwich. The film then allows time for us to see him resume his activity before cutting back to the living room .
Now we hear the killers talking offscreen, and then unexpectedly leaving. The attentive viewer may notice the Mickey Mouse fridge magnet, a detail that sardonically reminds us that Funny Games refuses to be entertainment in the escapist sense. For over a minute, there is no more noticeable movement, other than the car racing on the television. The rhythm of the film is therein extremely different from other films about killing, such as the satire Natural Born Killers , in which Haneke argues that striking montages interrupt our full comprehension of each act of carnage Sharrett Again, a tiny and ordinary sound has profound impact.
But, for a few moments, Funny Games allows us peace in the absence of the killers and the sound of race cars that represents their will. In particular, we perceive how much this scene differentiates itself from others that are focused on victims, especially in the absence of a rousing musical score. Hearing Haneke versus the Killers Because Funny Games uses its unconventional sound track in such disarmingly Brechtian ways, some critics have understandably accused Haneke of terrorizing his audience.
We are aligned with the disempowered family because we are subjected to so much sonic disturbance. The film provides us with an even deeper illusion of closeness to the family through the closely miked emphasis on their physical and vocal expressions of grief and pain. This aural intimacy forces us into an emotional position of resistance to the killers, even when they seem most comedically in control.
In addition, along with the killers driving the narrative forward, we might sense the auteur controlling us in accordance with his preestablished aurally enforced agenda. Funny Games the many implicit allusions to films that are more aurally conventional. We are therefore not encouraged to simply align ourselves with the victims, but to consider other representations of victimhood that we more typically witness, and to stop playing the game of going along with them. More than once during tense moments of the narrative, there is a sudden cut to show the outside of the house, where there is nothing but the sounds of nighttime stillness along with crickets [, ].
These are sudden experiences of the world beyond the house that is oblivious to the agony happening inside it. The film therein visually recalls a scene from Halloween that shows a quiet suburban street of closed doors, suggestive of an entire neighborhood that is unknowingly closed off to human suffering.
The female protagonist Laurie repeatedly calls out and bangs on doors for help while running from the killer, but none of her neighbors respond. Funny Games more urgently asks us to perceive the danger of being oblivious to violence because its victims all die, whereas Halloween has at least the triumphant final girl.
The implication is that not hearing can be a form of violence in itself. How can cinema help us hear the racial politics that often go unspoken? What kind of music signifies progressive hope without sounding trite or too easy?
When does hearing necessitate moral action? How can not speaking be a form of immorality? What strengthens humanity despite the hostile noises and oppressive silences of the world? These are the questions that guide this postcolonial analysis of Code Unknown. The film provides us with multiple storylines, all of which represent divided peoples and strained communication. Code Unknown is even more surprising for its emphasis on joyfully collective music that holds the possibility of limitless unity.
This is a visual reminder of The Seventh Continent, but the rhythmic complexity is more extreme due to the more elaborate narrative structure. The opening sequence from 71 Fragments includes several television news stories about conflict in Somalia, and Haiti, and in resistance to U.
Likewise, the sonic texture of the film is more representative of different perspectives and places. He vocally, and then physically, confronts Jean who nonchalantly refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing. After police then intervene, Amadou is taken away for questioning and Maria is deported.
Her forced return to Romania seems cruel because she is a victim of circumstance. Like Code Unknown, the film is focused on the silences and cries of characters that are most vulnerable, including an illegal immigrant boy, a sick baby, and a disturbed girl being introduced to her new foster parents. Our hearing diverse voices in Code Unknown resonates with much postcolonial scholarship. Who says these are the rules?
This figurative way of speaking is so common that we can easily forget about the literal importance of listening. We return to it toward the end of this chapter. The film thus sonically allows us to perceive something much bigger than a monolithic reality according to one familiarly white point of view. We know so little! The first sounds of the film are very quiet: a child makes physical movements without speaking or props.
There is a blank white screen behind her pale face: the visual equivalent of silence. The empty space offsets her physical presence, and the outline of her dark hair in particular. As she creeps back toward the wall, her own shadow moves closer and closer toward her. She takes small cowering steps into this darkness as she attempts to communicate what others cannot understand see Figure 4. The girl silently shakes her head. The sound she makes is a low, quiet scream that is arresting in the context of the exceptional quiet that precedes it see Figure 4.
This last juxtaposition clearly suggests that we are imprisoned by the codes we do not know, or the failures of communication that we cannot resolve. But the film has already established other important emphases from a postcolonial perspective.
With Code Unknown, we focus more on various forms of communication in relation to social diversity and division within contemporary France. Because the opening scene features multiracial children attempting to understand some nonverbal Code Unknown communication, the film immediately suggests positive possibilities of patient interpretation. It positions us to guess at meanings with humility, like the children sitting on the floor. It was released after a period of increasingly restrictive French legislation with regard to the rights of all foreigners Jelloun , And what right of reply do they have against that flood of hatred?
But this is more than a formal exercise in showing the indeterminacy of the signifier. The scene shows how easy it is for a message to be misunderstood or for an audience to get it wrong. This has deep implications from a postcolonial perspective of understanding the cultural relativity of truth. In parallel to this, Temenuga Trifonova positively situates Code Unknown within a European tradition of representing complex European identities in the last two decades of the twentieth century.
It is still forbidden by law to collect statistics referring to racial or ethnic origin, and it is therefore difficult to determine how certain communities are faring compared to others. When it comes to immigrants, France has a long history of forcing assimilation. Further, Code Unknown gestures toward future possibilities through the many unfinished storylines, the numerous sounds and conversations that are interrupted, and the full title of the film itself Code Unknown: Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys.
Though Code Unknown speaks to the present and the possible future, it is still haunted by the past. Here, Georges is speaking of the recent past: his visit to Afghanistan near the end of Taliban rule. However, the black and Indian faces we see along with his lines about not being fit for peace imply the legacies of much longer, wider Code Unknown histories of racial oppression. Such claims sidestep the fact that Georges photographs his subjects without their permission, and that he seems oddly dissociated from them through the voiceover.
At the moment Georges is about to take a picture, the film cuts to black with the sound 75 76 Hearing Haneke arguably works this way, resisting any grand narrative or ultimate statement that can be decoded, although it is more engaged with its subjects than Georges is with his.
This connects with how the film repeatedly disallows presumption. Perhaps the color connection suggests that all the characters are potentially vulnerable: even Anne, the beautiful white actress played by the one major female star, Binoche , is shown belittled by a long shot when she speaks of yellow. She laughs with infectious hysteria. But the six people in the large auditorium, presumably there for casting, do not audibly respond to her.
Instead, they silently observe her and sometimes whisper to each other while Anne appears alone and far away on the illuminated stage. Her relatively closely miked voice brings us spatially closer to her, but the perspectival dimunition of her body visually underlines that she is disempowered as well as ignored.
Here and elsewhere, listening is an important action in Code Unknown. Along with ensuring that we hear its sound track in complex, sometimes contrary, relation to its visuals, the film repeatedly shows characters in the act of listening or choosing not to hear. When Anne becomes aware of their inattention, she stops performing and steps forward to the front of the stage as their whispering continues. They are oblivious to her having broken role.
Yet there is no diegetic response to her before the sudden blackout that ends the scene. We can assume that his father saw no future for himself in France, especially after we witness a passenger in his taxi treating him with intolerant aggression.
We can understand this choice, although the personal cost abandoning a family is huge. So, our listening leads to a big invitation, but only if we are ready to hear it. Just as listening leads to massive possibilities, not listening or choosing not to act on something heard is harmful in Code Unknown. The clearest example of this is the tragedy of the young girl whom Anne hears being abused but whom she does nothing to protect.
This girl is not only the most intriguing sonic presence of the film: from a postcolonial perspective, she has a crucial role. Anne soon hears her neighbors over the television: the girl screaming and her parents scolding and shouting at her. She mutes the show to hear more clearly, and then pauses her ironing until the commotion quietens see Figure 4. Anne looks perturbed, as though her heart is beating quickly. These voices temporarily command her attention more than the aural artificiality of the television.
We hear the amplified sound of the water and steam as Anne moves the iron around each item before quietly folding it and putting it aside. She stops for a drink of wine, a deliberate effort to inoculate herself from what she has just heard. Then she puts the television volume back up before ironing again.
The sound of the water in the iron may be an oblique reference to life in the womb as we hear it along with the little girl crying. Becker emphatically denies all knowledge of the note when Anne asks her about it, with the ironic result of arousing further suspicion about herself, but Anne takes no further action. Code Unknown makes us therefore understand that at least two people hear a child being violently attacked without saving her.
They are shopping together at the supermarket, and Georges responds with the nonchalant observation that Anne either believes the girl or not. If not, forget it. Their passionate kissing at the end of the argument and their resuming movement around the supermarket is a distraction from the child in crisis: a different way of not hearing.
The tragedy of the little girl ends with Anne and Mrs. Becker attending her funeral. Haneke often denies us the full view of a violent event, as in the shooting of young Georgie in Funny Games. The film never visually reveals who she is, nor who she might represent, nor the extent of the pain she endures.
The lack of her image makes her story a most potent appeal to our imaginations and hearts. Through Jesus Christ, Amen. Anne and Mrs. The rest of the scene shows them walking past many gravestones as the traffic continues and the camera tracks with them as if waiting for them to speak. The camera slowly moves closer as it tracks, shifting from a long to a medium shot. The closer proximity allows us to see that the old woman has a drop of water dangling from her nose.
The physicality of her slightly messy crying matters in the absence of speech: there is an obvious tension between her physical expression of grief and her lack of words. The only interaction between Anne and Mrs. Becker is that they walk together and Anne helps the old lady slightly over a bumpy part of ground.
But the traffic continues relentlessly and sometimes loudly, a grim suggestion that the world is oblivious and 81 82 Hearing Haneke ceaselessly indifferent to the death of a child, a thematically loaded echo of the race car noise in Funny Games. However, Code Unknown uses her acoustic presence to signify much more than a single Caucasian person in need.
By being heard offscreen and never shown onscreen, she is cinematically marginalized. In crying for help, but not being saved, she stands for the many peoples of contemporary France who are heard but not seen in the figurative as well as the literal sense. She may remind us of the less obvious, but no less structured, absences of minority peoples onscreen.
Conversely, Code Unknown wants us to hear all different kinds of speaking, languages, and communication. This imperative to hear every living being is the culturally loaded dream of the film. The heaviness of postcolonial realities weighs heavily on this dream, but it is borne of a sincere commitment to inspiring compassionate change.
The Noise of the World, and the Death of Noiselessness Along with urging us to consider what change is possible, Code Unknown repeatedly implies the indifference of the world to human suffering. This is sonically stressed by a motif of traffic noises mixed with dialogue. Becker do not speak.
For example, an early scene features a homeless adolescent boy an illegal immigrant eating from a trash can by the road while numerous cars drive by. Ironically, the sound mix does make it possible for us to hear the quiet chinking of chains when one policeman undoes the handcuffs on her wrists before he pushes her onto the plane see Figure 4.
Noises repeatedly threaten human voices in Code Unknown, but completely blocking out sound is shown to be dangerous too. For the acoustics, I guess. The music room more critically symbolizes the insidious danger of rarefied aesthetic pleasure that inoculates the upper class from the reality of the street. The unnaturalness of such inoculation is the subtext of the extreme quiet in this scene from Code Unknown.
Quite amazing with all the traffic outside. The realtor leaves for a few moments, and Anne opens a new door that reveals a solid brick wall. Now her place of privilege is revealed to be a prison. She turns around dramatically to the camera as the door crashes into the wall, punctuating her terror.
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