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Palgrave Macmillan

Film Sound in Italy

Listening to the Screen

ISBN 9781137387707
Publication Date March 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Considering films as audio-visual creations opens new inroads into the cultural practice, politics, and aesthetics of the soundtrack. This book is critical and trans-disciplinary engagement with cinema in Italy that examines the national archive of film based on sound and listening using a holistic audio-visual approach to film politics and practices from the coming of sound to the screen in the Fascist era, through the work of post WWII neorealist directors, to art cinema directors such as Michelangelo Antonioni and Pier Paolo Pasolini. Sisto shifts the sensory paradigm of film history and analysis from the optical to the sonic, demonstrating how this translates into a shift of canonical narratives and interpretations. Listening functions as a fundamental critical tool that permits viewers to detect the interplay of technological productions, historical contingencies, and mediations which coalesce within the political and aesthetical track of sound at the movies.

Antonella Sisto is Five College Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA. Her area of research is Italian cinema and literature, sound and media studies, history, and fascism.

1. Sounding Fascism in Cinema
2. Dubbing in Deed, and Listening to Dubbing
3. Cinema Talks: Between 'Make Believe' and Schizophonia
4. The Soundtrack after Fascism: the Neorealist Play without Sound
5. Michelangelo Antonioni, the Wind is Photogenic
6. Pier Paolo Pasolini's Thousand Notes of Contestation


"Film Sound in Italy makes a difference in thinking about film aesthetics, history, and politics through its inventive investigation of the creative role of sound." - Marcia Landy, Distinguished Professor, English and Film Studies, University of Pittsburgh, USA
"Antonella Sisto's study taught me to think about sound in ways far deeper and more sophisticated than I had ever considered possible. This probing investigation of the uses and abuses of dubbing in Fascist cinema, neorealism, as well as in the works of Antonioni and Pasolini, offers new insights into areas so exhaustively studied as to defy new critical inroads. A major contribution to scholarship, Film Sound in Italy will also find enthusiastic readers among lay connoisseurs of the Seventh Art. - Millicent Marcus, Professor, Italian and Film Studies, Yale University, USA
"This book implicates the study of Italian Cinema within the broader aural turn of recent film studies and courageously devises a special kind of auscultation for Italian sound film. The effect is striking: like the sudden turning off of the mute button, it opens our ears to the reverberations of history and ideology." - Alessandra Campana, Associate Professor, Musicology, Tufts University, USA
"Film is an 'audiovisual medium' but it has long been a truism to note that far more attention has been paid in film studies to the 'visual' part of the hybrid formula than to the 'audio' party. There are exceptions, especially in the area of film music, but the general truth still holds. Antonella Sisto's rich new book is a part of a small but important wave of work that vigorously contests this sensory one-sidedness, programmatically calling on us to 'listen' to the screen as much as we 'watch' it and to acknowledge the multifaceted, indeed transformative impact of the aural/oral on everything we think we know about the medium . . . She makes a good case for the particularities of the Italian industry and its cultural history as illuminating of the whole set of general historical, political, and theoretical issues swirling around the field of film sound" - Viewfinder "Sisto's book is thought-provoking and enlivened by a highly compelling writing style. It stimulates in the reader a keen curiosity to know more about the still mostly untold histories of film sound in Italy." - Journal of European Studies
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