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Vowels/Consonants: The Legend of a “Gendered” (Sexual) Difference Told by Cinema

Vowels/Consonants: The Legend of a “Gendered” (Sexual) Difference Told by Cinema

Chapter:
(p.249) 12 Vowels/Consonants: The Legend of a “Gendered” (Sexual) Difference Told by Cinema
Source:
The Voice as Something More
Author(s):
Michel Chion, Zakir Paul
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226656427.003.0013

This paper, through some examples from films, shows how cinema can dramatize vision of the word as written into the image on screen, if fleetingly at times—a word that is not pronounced but to which the spectator must “give voice” in reading it mentally. The paper also shows how cinema should deal with the question of difference as posed by languages and certain differences in writing systems; how cinema tends to reinforce the old myth about the gendered character of the opposition between consonants (associated with the masculine) and vowels (associated with the feminine); and finally how cinema gives an account of the change in the use and status of writing, thanks to current-day media, as used in some “SMS.” The general idea is to remind us that language, in its visible and/or audible form, plays a key role in the audio-visual, which should be called “audio-logo-visual,” and to analyze how it does so in its cultural and historical reality.

Keywords:   cinema, gender, voice and writing, image, audio-logo-visual, voice, SMS, language, vowels, consonants

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