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Aesthetics of Early Sound Film

Media Change around 1930

308 pages
Amsterdam University Press
This volume takes a fresh look at the various aesthetics emerging globally in the early sound film era, with a focus on the films’ fundamentally experimental and inventive character. By considering films and production contexts often neglected in film studies, it strives to counter the still dominant view of the transitional period as a time of yet-to-be-perfected forerunners of ‘classical’ sound film. Instead, authors highlight the sense of ‘fruitful uncertainty’ in this period of media change and transformation. Subjects covered include visual and auditory style; the uses of speech, music, and noises; aesthetic conceptions in sound film theory; and intermedial aesthetics. The volume’s scope is decidedly international, covering production and reception contexts in the Soviet Union, Japan, the USA, Germany, France, Italy, the UK, and Switzerland.
Author Bio
Daniel Wiegand is Assistant Professor of Film Studies at University of Zurich. He is the author of Gebannte Bewegung: Tableaux vivants und früher Film in der Kultur der Moderne as well as co-editor of Film Bild Kunst: Visuelle Ästhetik im vorklassischen Stummfilm (edited with Jörg Schweinitz, 2016). Recent articles include “‘Islands of Sound in the Silent Flow of Film:’ German Part-Talkies Around 1930 as a Hybrid Medium,” in Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television (2022).