Sound in Lars von Trier’s Dancer In The Dark and Breaking the Waves

Lars von Trier is well known for liking to make things happen in his films through the merits of story, theme and acting alone. His self-imposed ban on artificiality borders on the masochistic. But it works. Even with sound. Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark are a testimony to the richness that can come out of organically embedding sound into the theme and the story. In this respect, the two films make a very refreshing watch.

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On Combining Image And Sound In Film

Many find it hard to think cinematically about sound. Sound is not any more or less cinematic than the image. So why is it so hard? The problem lies in the approach. Many think of it in terms of perceptual veridicality, and that’s like throwing a red herring into its real potential. In this post I describe the kind of interaction that needs to happen between image and sound for the two to create a truly cinematic experience, one the audience will find more satisfying.

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Film As A Simulation Of The Brain’s Mind

Stories are simulations of our social world. All simulations need an interface that allows us to interact with the virtual world they represent, so what is this interface in fiction? In this post I explore the concept of identification with fictional characters as being the interface that bridges the real and the virtual worlds, and the implications this has for film sound.

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The Story of Story

Many complex things become easier to understand when you trace their origins. An evolutionary account of story can provide vital clues to the cinematic possibilities of sound. So, in this post, I talk about how stories evolved and how they helped shape us as a species.

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Why Sound (Still) Is the Ugly Duckling of Filmmaking

Sound is an area of filmmaking that most screenwriters and directors would rather not have to deal with and happily leave it in the hands of sound editors. This is somewhat of a problem, since it is resulting in the cinematic potential of film sound being suppressed. Awareness is always the first step to solving a problem, so in this post I explore the origins of this attitude towards film sound.

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