Essay good example of the first instance

Essay IntroductionDuring this essay, I am going to answer the followingquestions:·     How do the film texts you have chosen exemplifyMichel Chion’s theory of the audio- visual scene?·     What are the benefits and/or limitations ofChion’s theory? I will answer these questions with specific reference to awide range of film texts. I will also discuss the theoretical opinions of MichelChion by demonstrating a clear understanding of his theory, as well as providingpositives and negatives regarding his work. Michael Chion’s TheoryMichel Chion is an experimental music composer and AssociateProfessor at the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle.

In his book, Audio-Vision:Sound on Screen, Chion explores the relationship between sound and image. Bothsound and image are described as two different languages within the multimediaart form. In his book, Chion discusses the argument from bothtechnical-linguistic and aesthetic points of view. (Chion, M.l (1994–2005).Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen (translated by Claudia Gorbman). New York:Columbia University Press.

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own
Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get expert help in mere 10 minutes with:
  • Thesis Statement
  • Structure and Outline
  • Voice and Grammar
  • Conclusion
Get essay help
No paying upfront

) Chion has a theory in which he states that music, or sound,allows film ‘to wander at will through time and space’ (1994:82). This allowsfilm to guide viewers through time using visual edits and enlists sound as a complimentarypartner. The AcousmaticAcousmatic is a word of Greek origin. In his book, Chiondescribes acousmatic sound as ‘sound one hears without seeing their originatingcause’ (1994:71). Chion further suggests that acousmatic sound can advanceover two distinctive structures; ‘either a sound is visualized first, andsubsequently acousmatized, or it is acousmatic to start with, and is visualizedonly afterwards’ (1994:72).  The second scene from ‘Inception’ is a good example of thefirst instance of this theory. (Nolan, C.

2010). In this scene, the characterSaito is seen sitting down at a table. He asks the character opposite him,Cobb, if he is here to kill him. Saito then picks up a totem in front of himand spins it on the table.

The sound of the totem is then acousmatized a fewseconds later as the screen changes and all we see is a close-up of Saito’sface as he continues to talk to the man across him. Therefore, even though theimage on the screen has changed, the sound of the totem is still ringing in theviewer’s mind which, in this case, is an important factor in the film. A great example of the second instance of this theory is theRaptors in the Kitchen scene from ‘Jurassic Park’ (Spielberg, S.

1993). In thisscene, two young children are trapped inside a kitchen with two velociraptordinosaurs. However, the dinosaurs are unaware of the children’s presence. Throughoutthis whole there is music playing which compliments the action within thescene. However, there is no indication of a source for the sound as it is keptsecret throughout this scene. The sound builds up even more as the dinosaursget closer to the children. When the dinosaurs realise the children are insidethe kitchen the music becomes frantic and intense.

Although the source of thesound is never shown, the sheer presence of the sound itself maintains suspensefor the viewer. This allows them to become drawn in by the film and become apart of it as they feel they’re in the same position as the children. Onscreen, Off-screen and Non-diegetic soundIn his book regarding the audio-visual scene, Chion goes onto describe onscreen sound as ‘whose source appears in the image, and belongsto the reality represented therein’ (1994:73). This is a very common feature infilms as the source of the sound could literally be anything, from the maincharacter of a movie to an evocative object.

A great example of when this statementwas supported in a film is the opening scene of ‘The Godfather’ (Coppola, F.F.1972). The scene begins with a close-up of the character Bonasera, speaking tosomeone opposite to him. This scene strongly supports Chion’s theory as it isclear to see where the source of the sound is coming from and that it belongsto the reality represented in the film. Chion also describes off-screen as ‘sound that isacousmatic, relative to what is shown in the shot: sound whose source isinvisible, whether temporarily or not’ (1994:73). However, it still belongs tothe reality of the film.

One great example of how an off-screen sound is usedin film is the final scene in ‘Saw’ (Wan, J. 2004). In this scene, the characterFaulkner-Stanheight, whose ankle is chained to a pipe, is stuck in a bathroomwith two dead corpses. He searches the body of one of the corpses, Zep, for akey. Faulkner-Stanheight has previously bludgeoned Zep to death with a toilettank lid. Instead, Faulkner-Stanheight discovers a microcassette recorder, justlike the one he had previously found on himself earlier in the film. Afterlistening to the recoding on the cassette, he comes to a realisation that Zepwas also the victim of another character called Jigsaw, the person who had chainedhim to the bathroom pipe, following rules in order to acquire an antidote for aslow-acting poison in his body.

As the tape ends, the second corpse rises fromthe ground and is revealed to be Jigsaw. Jigsaw tells Faulkner Stanheight thekey to chain on his ankle was in the bathtub he woke up in previously at thestart of the film. The key was also revealed to have fallen down the drain ofthe bathtub when Faulkner-Stanheight first woke up. He attempts to shoot Jigsawwith Zep’s gun. However, Jigsaw activates a remote control which shocks Adamand then shuts off the lights. As he reaches to slam the bathroom door shut,Faulkner-Stanheight begins to scream.

Jigsaw shouts “Game Over” as he slams thebathroom door and the screen goes black. However, you can still hearFaulkner-Stanheight screaming for his life, even as the credits begin to roll. Thescreams coming from the blank screen leaves a lasting image in the viewer’s mind.This makes them think about what they’ve just watched and makes them imaginehow it would feel to be in Faulkner-Stanheight’s position. Furthermore, theextension of the sound during the credits causes the viewer to continuereflecting on the film, even though it has already ended. Chion also states in his book that non-diegetic sound is ‘soundwhose supposed source is not only absent from image but is also external to thestory world’ (1994:73). He also goes on to mention that ‘this is the widespreadcase of voiceover commentary, narration and musical underscoring’ (1994:73).

Oneexample of how this statement is supported in film is from the opening scene of’No Country for Old Men’ (Coen, J. and Coen, E. 2007). This scene begins withan off-screen voice over of a man from an unknown source. This lasts for one minuteand 47 seconds. The source of this sound is not revealed throughout this wholescene which relates well to Chion’s statement regarding non-diegetic sound.

Furthermore,the fact that this sound occurs during the opening scene sets the tone for theentire film. Benefits of Michel Chion’s TheoryI believe that there are many benefits to the theory of Chionoffers many benefits to films and viewers. One of these benefits is that itallows the viewer to feel like a part of the film.

For example, the use of acousmatizedas well as off-screen sound has the ability draw the viewer into the film visualizethemselves in it.  Another benefit of Chion’s theory is that it allows the toneof a film to be set. For example, non-diegetic sound is designed to create amood for the film and viewer. Another great example of this is the musicalunderscoring that takes place before the opening scene of ‘The Usual Suspects'(Singer, B. 1995). The sound that takes place in this sets the tone for theentire film.

 A third benefit of Chion’s theory is that it can informviewers of the importance of a source of sound. The example used earlier in theessay regarding ‘Inception’ provides good support for this statement as thetotem used in the second scene is an important object in this film (Nolan, C.2010). The sound that is emitted from the source helps the viewer to rememberthe source which may also assist them in understanding future scenes. ConclusionThe purpose of this essay was to answer the followingquestions: How do the film texts you have chosen exemplify Michel Chion’s theory of the audio- visual scene? What are the benefits and/or limitations of Chion’s theory? It is quite evident that the film texts I have chosen epitomizeand support the theory of Chion. I have described specific film scenes to supportmy views.

Furthermore, I have also managed to discuss the benefits that Chion’stheory provides as well as using specific examples to support my arguments.


I'm Gerard!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out