Saturday, October 2, 2010

Calling Again

Like You Know It All (Hong Sang-soo, 2009)

Further adventures in the depiction of phone conversations in cinema: in this typically Hongian (cell phone, ugly room, cigarette, unremarkable lighting) scene from Like You Know It All, the sound design goes against the conventions of depicting a phone call from one character's "aural point of view" by mixing the voices of both actors at more or less the same level. There's none of the cheesy "tinniness" that's used to simulate a phone receiver, nor are either of the actors talking directly into a microphone; we hear both voices as a person sitting in the room with them would hear, though the image only ever shows one of the characters (if I recall correctly, Hong uses a similar technique in Lost in the Mountains).

But Hong goes further: he mixes in voice-over narration at a similar volume, so, while the image shows the actions of one character as he wakes up and has a cigarette while answering a phone call, on the soundtrack we hear the interplay of three vocal parts (two from the same actor, but recorded differently -- dialogue on the set, monologue in a studio).

No comments: