The artistic merit of a lack of sound in film

Recently we saw how the lack of sound impacts the cinematic landscape in John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place, but, of course, it is not a new phenomenon. Another wonderful example of the absence of sound (or rather music) in a film would have to be Michael Haneke’s 1994 film 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance. It would be interesting to see how this absence lends itself to the film’s plot and whether it strengthens or hinders the work. The exploration of sound/music in film is still a relatively new study, and I have not seen much in the way of discussing its absence, so it would be really fascinating to track the progress of sound and how it impacts spectatorship depending on its presence or lack thereof.

  • Excellent topic! I noticed this in Signs as well. There was music, but it was only in certain points of the film. I remember feeling weird when I watched the movie the first time, but I couldn't pinpoint what it was. It was only when I watched it a second time that I realized how the lack of background music made the movie feel like real life, which was unsettling and made the movie more intense for me. – tclaytor 6 years ago
  • A bit more mainstream, but two episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that engaged in this are an interesting study in the use of music and sound. The episode Hush, which won an Emmy, has no dialogue only music - the score (orchestral only) and the gestures of the characters tells the entire story for one episode. The other interesting use in a show that is heavy handed with its inclusion of both musical scores and popular songs, was in the episode The Body where she finds her mother dead. The episode includes only dialogue and diegetic sound, no soundtrack. – SaraiMW 6 years ago

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