The Artist and the power of sensory deprivation in film and theatre | Mark Espiner

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 11:01 in Psychology & Sociology

Taking voices away from actors, or plunging audiences into darkness, can provide an immersive, more intimate experienceFor the makers of The Artist, clutching five Oscars this week including best film, silence is quite literally golden.Some have argued that it wooed the Academy by conjuring up the romance of Hollywood's past. Regardless of its awards success, it has won the hearts of the public with a novel approach that trusted them to take an imaginative leap. Disposing with dialogue let the viewer engage in an unfamiliar way with the characters and invest in the story.By depriving the actors of their voices, director Michel Hazanavicius focused attention on gesture, action and movement. Of course, all those things are present in a talkie, but without words a raised eyebrow takes on greater significance, and the look of love, when it does not have to speak, is invested with unfamiliar power.There is potent richness...

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