One thing that caught my attention was the dimensionality of the movie. The movie started off with multiple relationships. There were the familial relationships between the sisters and their parents, the more intimately designed relationships, and basic friendships between people. Also, there were multiple main “sites” that were involved in the movie. I just enjoyed tracking the different relationships being formed as if they were all their own separate movie. The twists and turns between all the different relationships gave the movie a sense of “dimensionality” that isn’t found too often. In addition, I was always intrigued to hear all the opinions about these relationships as every character seemed to want to state their stance on “who loved who” or “who would marry who” and why or why not it was right to them.
I really liked this short film. It had a very eerie and frightening feel to it with a little bit of dark humor, in my opinion. The film starts by showing us a mother sitting in a chair doing embroidery work while her son is walking around in circles beating a drum hanging around his neck and a cuckoo clock was audibly ticking as the son’s bedtime was approaching. It seemed as if all three motions were acting at the same exact time. The mother’s sewing was in time with the boy’s drumming and those were both time with the ticking of the clock. His bedtime is announced by the cuckoo clock chiming ten (?) times. To add to the eeriness, the “cuckoo” of the clock is actually a skeleton, possible foreshadowing what is to come. The boy then reluctantly goes up a series of stairs to his room. On his way up, he encounters a creaky stair, at which he pauses and takes a noticeably longer time to pass the stair. We don’t know it yet, but the ominous figure that is the Sandman will pause at this same step later on in the film.
Speeding ahead, the boy is in his room, thinks someone is coming in, the audience thinks it is the Sandman because we see the Sandman coming up the stairs, and we are surprised by the fact that the person that enters the room is the boy’s mother. She tucks him in, kisses his head, and closes his eyes, providing him and us with a sense of false hope, comfort, and serenity. Moments later, the Sandman bursts through the door of the boy’s room and tries to frighten him. In my opinion, the film has bits of humor dispersed throughout. For instance, the Sandman tries to wake the child and frighten him but is unable to because he is sound asleep. It is almost like they are playing tag or something. Every time the Sandman is in the boy’s field of vision, the boy has his eyes closed. This goes on for about a minute or two. The boy is tossing and turning and the Sandman keeps on moving around to be in front of the boy. I think the humor makes the film even more frightening. We are presented with a form of humor only to then be disgusted and terrified when we see that the Sandman eventually extracts the boy’s eyes, brings them with him back to the moon, and feeds his children. What’s more, this isn’t even the first time. There is a collection of eyeless boys shown after the credits begin to roll at the end of the film.
The Mexican restaurant scene is very interesting. It begins with Mexican music being performed by the Mariachi band. As Darcy and Lalita begin to hit it off however, the sound shifts back to a more traditional Indian sounding song performed by the mariachi band. It is interesting because previously in the film, the music matched up with the culture, rap music in California and because of Mr. Kholi. It seems that when love scenes happen, the sound returns to the traditional Indian sounding music. The music is non-diegetic, async sound. It is also a good example of parallelism. The song is titled Show me the Way to Love or Take me to Love. As Darcy is taking Lalita all over California, they are falling deeper in love. He is showing her the way to love. They also use a sound bridge. Wherever Darcy and Lalita go, in the helicopter, on the beach, etc., it has many different transitions from day to day yet the music stays and follows the action. It is a way to show the progression of their love. This is a typical elliptical editing scene especially in Bollywood film. It compresses the time while showing many different days and dates and costumes all within a couple of minutes.
When I first started reading the Sound article that details the history of sound and sound effects, I was fascinated by what was written about the drawings of the cave walls of the Neanderthals some 30,000 years ago. Most interesting to me was the theory that in these caves and underground passages, you were meant to focus more on the sounds rather than the images. Ethnographer Iegor Reznikoff studied the caves and analyzed their echoes and reverberations. He determined that all of the cave drawings were all at the “most acoustically interesting parts of the caves” (Steven Johnson, 88). Although very interesting, and heavily supported by scientific evidence, I am still quite dubious that the Neanderthals put these paintings there on purpose. I find it very hard to believe that they went around to different parts of the caves, made noises, kept track of which spots were the most “acoustically interesting” and painted in only those areas. I think that these caves were “acoustically interesting” in almost every part, and it just so happened that these drawings were placed in the most acoustically interesting parts. I think it is an interesting coincidence, but I find it hard to accept as a theory.
This article shows us the importance of truly understanding and being able to properly analyze the media we consume. It stresses the importance of knowledgeable viewing. Scenes in a musical, for instance, should be viewed balanced against one another, rather than as independent scenes. “Each segment must be understood not in terms of the segments to which it is causally related but by comparison to the segment which it parallels” (Altman, 20).
It also demonstrates the importance of considering different scenes along side on another, rather than as independent scenes. The theme of scene duality also arises a lot. The musical Gigi is the example used in the article to demonstrate duality. Both characters, Gigi and Gaston, have very different experiences with others around them. However, through duality, the two seem very similar and seem to be going through extremely close experiences. This principle of duality shows the “less linear configuration” of the musical. There are many parallels held between Gigi and Gaston not only by their shared experiences but also by the songs they sing in the musical. This demonstrates a way in which music can greatly impact the narrative of the story. The music brings two characters together in ways that might not have been able to accomplished with words alone.
I am extremely fascinated by the concept of Foley artists. Being able to completely recreate genuine sounding effects using something completely different than the sound being imitated is incredible to me. I really enjoyed clip we watched today in class about Ben Burtt and his work with WALL-E and others. The clip gave me a new appreciation for the art of sound making and editing. There are so many intricate details that go into making the effects for movies. For instance, Ben Burtt discussed how heavy the impact was of sound. Sound effects, especially in a film like WALL-E where these effects are the main component of the movie since dialogue is limited, can change the whole emotional vibes of the scene. You have to be careful because if an effect sounds too sad, then the audience will interpret that as intentional and potentially get a skewed view of the scene when, in reality, there are no sad parts of the particular scene. It was interesting to see how major of a role such small and seemingly minor effects had on the whole film.
In The Sandman, two things that stood out to me about the sound were the parallelism the director included, as well as the synchronous sound. With parallelism, the entire film had a creepy and eery vibe; the lighting was very dark, the way the characters looked and acted, and they were in an old, creaky house. The creepiness that the director included was strongly emphasized by the musical scores he decided to include, for the music was making it seem that something was going to happen to the little kid (which eventually did), and it also generally gave off a sketchy vibe, making the combination of the sound and the creepiness of the setting and characters very effective. Additionally, the synchronous sound the director included also added to the overall creepy feel. For example, when both the little kid and The Sandman were going up the stairs to the kids bedroom, the stairs creaked, which in film is typically viewed as very creepy and spooky. Also once the wind blew open the window, the slam of the window and the roar of the wind not only scared the kid, but it made the audience wonder if something was about to happen to him.
One, very small, thing that I noticed in Bride and Prejudice was that, during the scene when the crew is by the pool Lalita brings out a very familiar book. The book that Lalita is reading at that time is a Jane Austen novel. This particular prop is ironic seeing as how the film is based off of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. This scene also struck me because it is another example of when Lalita is taunted for her intelligence, just as Lizzy is in Pride and Prejudice. This is just a small thing that I noticed in the film, but it struck me as a rather comedic piece of irony to include.
One thing I noticed about the sound in Bride and Prejudice is that every time the characters would switch countries the music is the background would change to the country’s songs they would listen to. However, it would only be played for a brief amount of time and then return to the indian genre music.
After reading Sound by Steven Johnson, it is truly amazing how to see how technology has advanced over the years. Due to these innovations, we are able to experience such significant breakthroughs in science during our lifetime. For example, Johnson talks about how thanks to Edouardo- Leon Scott’s phonautograph, throughout the years cultural innovations came from using new technology in unexpected ways. These miscalculations lead to the invention of the sonar, which was the main tecnology used in finding the Titanic. The link above teaches and shows how truly amazing the technology is.
The history of all the different inventions of sound is much like that of the moving picture. Along the way humans wanted more out of the technology they had been given and thus new innovations were created. From Gutenburg’s printing press to motion picture, film has a come a long way.