Introduction to Film
Paper Assignment #4: Sound

English 2450/Communications 2010, section 5
Steven Shaviro
Paper due on Wednesday, November 16, 2011.

The scene you are going to see is from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), directed by Michel Gondry, screenplay by Charlie Kaufman, starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. The film is a combination of romantic comedy and science fiction. Joel (Carrey) and Clementine (Winslet) are lovers who, after a breakup, decide to employ a technology that can erase their memories of each other from their minds. During this sequence, Joel is asleep and his memories of Clementine are being erased. He decides that he doesn't want to forget her after all. He tries desperately to cling to his memories, even as they are disappearing before his eyes; and he tries to wake up, so that he can tell the technicians to stop the procedure. The sequence is very convoluted, scrambled, and non-linear, because it is following the strange paths of memory and dream, rather than the logic of normal, waking life.

Your task is to play close attention to the soundtrack of this sequence. What different types of sound do we hear? What are their sources? How are these sounds orchestrated in relation to one another? How are they repeated, varied, or distorted? And how do these sounds guide us through the visual labyrinth provided by the movie's images and montage? How do these sounds help us to make sense of what we are seeing, and how do they affect our feelings as we listen and watch?

The film clip, like the one for the previous assignment, is available for streaming at:
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