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The Voice as Something MoreEssays toward Materiality$
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Martha Feldman and Judith T. Zeitlin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226656397

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226656427.001.0001

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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

(p.249) 12 Vowels/Consonants: The Legend of a “Gendered” (Sexual) Difference Told by Cinema
The Voice as Something More

Michel Chion

, Zakir Paul
University of Chicago Press

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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