Coelho, R. J. S. (2015). My point of view is a point of listening. The power of sound in Manoel de Oliveira’s films

In this thesis is I argue that for the perception of the audiovisual message, sounds we hear proceeding from the speakers are so important to the construction of meaning(s) as the images we see projected on the screen. I study the case of Manoel de Oliveira’s cinema, trying to understand how, and the extent to which sound contributes to the construction of sense in his films. My analysis stands on the argument that in an age where we are constantly bombarded by audiovisual images, the attention that has been devoted to screens – that is, the visual component of these images — must be complemented with an understanding of what happens in the loudspeakers — that is, with its audible component. Along the way, I try to find out the possible reasons why sound has been virtually ignored in communication studies: the difficulties in its ontological definition; its fluid and ephemeral character; its invisibility. I draw attention to its importance in our urban everyday life, more and more filled with artificial or electronically mediated sounds. I conclude by stating that the films of Manoel de Oliveira clearly demonstrate the relevance and the merits of my argument. Sound, in the three modalities in that cinema conceives it — voice, music and noise — is a mainstay, as fundamental as the images projected on the screen, of this ” Greek temple” that Manoel de Oliveira says to be cinema. Not only the audible is articulated with the visible in an inseparable way, as it can be the very engine of the audiovisual construction.




Rui Jorge de Sousa Coelho