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Active off-screen sound

by Michelle Langford

When thinking about the provenance of sound key questions to ask include: Where does sound come from? Who has access to this sound?
Active off-screen sound can be defined as sound whose source is not shown in the shot, but it plays an active role in the scene. Active off-screen sound makes us conscious that that screen space consists not only of what we can see, but what we can hear, that which is implied by the visual field but not shown, a zone reserved from our view. Here in Shame, the voices and sounds of lovemaking from the room next door intrude on the space of character, causing his domestic space to close in on him.

Active off-screen sound in Shame

Shame - active off-screen sound

from Shame (2011)
Creator: Steve McQueen
Posted by Michelle Langford
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