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Sound Design and Silence in the Work of Martin Scorsese

This effectively concise visual essay from Tony Zhou examines the significance of silence in the films of Martin Scorsese and modern cinema at large. From Raging Bull, in which Scorsese combines a dolly zoom with a hollowing “numbing effect, as if you’re hit in the ear too many times,” to the iconic Goodfellas scene where Joe Pesci comically dupes Ray Liotta, Zhou considers how silence is consistently “derived from character…[which] lets the director build a full cinematic structure around sound.”

Sound, for Scorsese, is no mere secondary player but rather a device to develop thematic and situational texture, like how the violence in Raging Bull‘s ring is an extension of the violence at home.

“The Art of Silence” also examines the depreciation of quietude in Hollywood blockbusters, from 1978’s Superman to 2013’s Man of Steel, alongside Spielberg’s inventive deployment in Saving Private Ryan.

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