The future is fast approaching

Caught up in an information culture.


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“The introduction of sound has largely caused filmmakers to concentrate on realistic narrative and discard the silent cinema’s methods of indirect allusion.  In saying this, it is important to realize that this change of approach has been a matter of choice, not necessity… There is no reason at all why a sound film should not make use of pictorially expressive devices… [however, the effect cannot be] introduced in the course of otherwise straightforward realistic narrative.  The sudden transition from realism to highly sophisticated, contrived imagery becomes unacceptable because the spectator is abruptly asked to view the action… through different eyes.  [Many of the effects using indirect allusion] arise out of the setting of the story… Yet it must be remembered that the Russians produced some of their most telling visual contrasts by completely ignoring the story’s natural locale and cutting to images which have no physical connection to the rest of the film… Obviously, there can be no question of making a continuity of this kind with actual sound… any kind of natural sound would merely draw attention to [the shots’] diversity.

One may conclude that that the sound medium is not capable of this kind of editing to an idea.  But this is not necessarily so.  Nor does the fact that Eisenstein himself never quite assimilated tot he element of sound prove anything except that he personally did not do so.  British documentary makers of the thirties, particularly Basil Wright and Humphrey Jennings, showed that Eisenstein’s methods could be further developed in the sound cinema.”

–Karel Reisz