The sound of sunlight
Screen, 51, (2), Summer Issue, . (doi:10.1093/screen/hjq005).
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In films as disparate as Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Greenaway, 1975) and Sunshine (Danny Boyle, 2007), sunlight is given an aural presence of considerable distinction. Perhaps only the tradition of the nocturne – ‘a dreamy musical piece’, as the OED has it – has acquired such a recognizable audio palette. This essay began as an investigation into an oddity in film sound: the sonification of an essentially silent phenomenon. It has become instead a little journey into the curious relations between sound, subjects and an environment hostile to both, the desert, as it has been represented in three films – The Garden of Allah (Richard Boleslawski, 1936), Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962) and Kingdom of Heaven (Ridley Scott, 2005) – over a seventy-year period.
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