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Quiet Voices: The Significance of Subdued Dialogue and Voice-Over in the Films of Aleksandr Sokurov

Björling, Fiona LU (2010) In Scando-Slavica 56(1). p.99-118
Abstract
Many of Sokurov’s films, features as well as documentaries, are characterised by scant or subdued dialogue and/or voice-over narration. This aesthetic style of the predominance of visual over verbal expression is understood as a direct expression of Sokurov’s concern with mortality and death. The argument proceeds from a semiotic distinction between language as basically discrete and moving pictures as basically indiscrete. By subduing the discrete semantics of language, Sokurov gives precedence to the potential of moving images to pursue the indiscrete flow of human life as it moves inevitably towards the moment of death, to the vanishing point of human existence. Six films are examined: The Lonely Voice of Man (Odinokij golos čeloveka);... (More)
Many of Sokurov’s films, features as well as documentaries, are characterised by scant or subdued dialogue and/or voice-over narration. This aesthetic style of the predominance of visual over verbal expression is understood as a direct expression of Sokurov’s concern with mortality and death. The argument proceeds from a semiotic distinction between language as basically discrete and moving pictures as basically indiscrete. By subduing the discrete semantics of language, Sokurov gives precedence to the potential of moving images to pursue the indiscrete flow of human life as it moves inevitably towards the moment of death, to the vanishing point of human existence. Six films are examined: The Lonely Voice of Man (Odinokij golos čeloveka); Whispering Pages (Tichie stranicy) and Spiritual Voices (Duchovnye golosa); Moloch, Taurus (Telec) and The Sun. The first three films reveal quietness as a mode of contemplation in the face of death, while the last three feature the three despots, Hitler, Lenin and Hirohito, in political retreat. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Moloch, Quiet Pages, Spiritual Voices, The Lonely Voice of Man, film narration, verbal narration, literature vs. film, Taurus, The Sun, differentiation vs. density, Sokurov, word vs. image
in
Scando-Slavica
volume
56
issue
1
pages
99 - 118
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • scopus:79958218992
ISSN
0080-6765
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d1485d2d-2cee-49c2-a6c6-70cd071b12d3 (old id 1616087)
date added to LUP
2011-02-02 14:59:18
date last changed
2018-05-29 11:55:43
@article{d1485d2d-2cee-49c2-a6c6-70cd071b12d3,
  abstract     = {Many of Sokurov’s films, features as well as documentaries, are characterised by scant or subdued dialogue and/or voice-over narration. This aesthetic style of the predominance of visual over verbal expression is understood as a direct expression of Sokurov’s concern with mortality and death. The argument proceeds from a semiotic distinction between language as basically discrete and moving pictures as basically indiscrete. By subduing the discrete semantics of language, Sokurov gives precedence to the potential of moving images to pursue the indiscrete flow of human life as it moves inevitably towards the moment of death, to the vanishing point of human existence. Six films are examined: The Lonely Voice of Man (Odinokij golos čeloveka); Whispering Pages (Tichie stranicy) and Spiritual Voices (Duchovnye golosa); Moloch, Taurus (Telec) and The Sun. The first three films reveal quietness as a mode of contemplation in the face of death, while the last three feature the three despots, Hitler, Lenin and Hirohito, in political retreat.},
  author       = {Björling, Fiona},
  issn         = {0080-6765},
  keyword      = {Moloch,Quiet Pages,Spiritual Voices,The Lonely Voice of Man,film narration,verbal narration,literature vs. film,Taurus,The Sun,differentiation vs. density,Sokurov,word vs. image},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {99--118},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {Scando-Slavica},
  title        = {Quiet Voices: The Significance of Subdued Dialogue and Voice-Over in the Films of Aleksandr Sokurov},
  volume       = {56},
  year         = {2010},
}