“The Primacy of Sound in Robert Bresson’s Films,” a recent conference paper from Honors faculty member Amresh Sinha

Filmmaker and Honors faculty member Amresh Sinha recently had a peer-reviewed conference paper titled “The Primacy of Sound in Robert Bresson’s Films” published at Aalborg University, Denmark. The paper was presented at as part of RE:SOUND 2019 – 8th International Conference on Media Art, Science, and Technology.

Here’s the abstract:

Sound and Image, in ideal terms, should have equal position in the film. But somehow, sound always plays the subservient role to the image. In fact, the introduction of sound in the cinema for the purists was the end of movies and the beginning of the talkies. The purists thought that sound would be the ‘deathblow’ to the art of movies. No less revolutionary a director than Eisenstein himself viewed synchronous sound with suspicion and advocated a non-synchronous contrapuntal sound. But despite opposition, the sound pictures became the norm in 1927, after the tremendous success of The Jazz Singer. In this paper, I will discuss the work of French director Robert Bresson, whose films privilege the mode of sound over the image. Bresson’s films challenge the traditional hierarchical relationship of sight and sound, where the former’s superiority is considered indispensable. The prominence of sound is the principle strategy of subverting the imperial domain of sight, the visual, but the aural implications also provide Bresson the opportunity to lend a new dimension to the cinematographic art. The liberation of sound is the liberation of cinema from its bondage to sight.

You can access the paper by clicking on the screenshot below.

 

Visual & Critical Studies