The Introduction establishes how studying the nexus of film, music, and memory participates in a shift from traditional ontological and methodological approaches in film studies toward a “field paradigm” that is concerned with “novel interpretation over systematic theory” as well as a “topical emphasis within a particular critical field” (James Buhler after Francesco Casetti). As cinema became aware of its impact on cultural memory, music took on a vital role in the storage, retrieval, and affective experience of personal and collective remembrance. This warrants an extension of Walter Benjamin’s notion of the optical unconscious to that of an optical-acoustic unconscious. If photography and film could reveal something that would otherwise not be visible due to the limits of our perceptual apparatus, the addition of music and sound enabled film to capture, store, and release aspects of reality previously inaccessible to our audiovisual sensorium. This is exemplified in a striking quotation of an iconic moment from Chris Marker’s La Jetée (1962)in Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo (2011) shows how sound and music can photographic stills into live action, thereby by animating memory images into moving pictures.
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