Call for papers : Voice-over and narration in films (France)

Centre interdisciplinaire Récits, Cultures, Psychanalyse, Langues et Société

Call for papers

« Voice-over and narration in films»

3 one-day seminars
February, April and October 2011

Université Nice-Sophia-Antipolis
Faculté des Lettres, Arts et Sciences Humaines
98 boulevard Edouard Herriot
06240 Nice - France

The way the sound component of an audiovisual message contributes to create meanings, intuitions, sensations or emotions. It has been investigated in a lot of studies, among them, Michel Chion’s work is the cornerstone of the underlying theoretical framework. Among the numerous features of the sound components of a film, the workshop will focus on the specific case of voice-over, which is characterized, as the other off-screen sounds, both by its extra-diegetic and verbal dimensions.

At the time of the silent screen, resorting to street pedlars to comment the action on the screen announced the need to focus the understanding of the action through the use of discourse. When by the end of the twenties, sounds and images became synchronized, this discourse became property of the film director who was able to modulate its shape and its content following his own desires. Newsreel, documentaries, scientific and educational films adopted this technology for their own purposes.

It is mainly through the distorting lens of narration that functions and modalities of voice-over will be questioned during the seminar :
• In which way voice-over contributes to elaborate new narrative forms when fiction, as well as non-fiction, are considered? How the story constrains or, on the contrary, suffers from voice-over ? How to measure the power of voice-over when the story is in progress?
• What signs in the story allow speaker identification and also hearer identification? How to analyze voice-over as focusing? How the concept of storyteller has taken over the film language and hence, how the “narrative voice” as defined by Gérard Genette matches voice-over? How to analyze historical hazards of voice-over when literally adaptation is concerned?
• How voice-over and dialogues do articulate? When does voice-over occur during the story? How does it work with regard to temporality?

Selected bibliography

Bibliographie sélective :

- Michel Chion, La voix au cinéma, Paris, Editions de l’étoile, 1982.
- Michel Chion, La toile trouée, la parole au cinéma, Nathan, 1988.
- Sarah Kozloff, Invisible storytellers - Voice-over narration in American fiction film, Bekerley-Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1988.
- Michel Chion, L’audio-vision, Paris, Nathan, 1990.
- Claude Bailblé, La perception l’attention modifiées par le dispositif et cinéma, thèse de doctorat, Université de Paris VIII, 1999.
- Francis Vanoye (dir), Cinéma et littérature, Paris, Université Paris X, 1999.
- Yannick Lemarié, « La voix-off dans l’œuvre de Scorsese », in Etudes cinématographiques, n°68, 2003.
- Numéro spécial Voix-off, revue Vertigo, n°26, octobre 2004.
- Christian Canonville, « Dimensions sonores au cinéma : variations imaginatives », in Médiamorphoses, n°18, 2006.
- Alain Boillat, Du bonimenteur à la voix-over : voix-attraction et voix-narration au cinéma, Lausanne, Antipodes, 2007.
- Jean-Louis Alibert, Le son de l’image, Grenoble, Presse Universitaire de Grenoble, 2008.

Submitted papers must include :
• The title
• An abstract (~500 words)
• A short bibliography of the author(s)

Important dates:
• Papers due : 1rst October 2010
• Notification to author(s) after review by the scientific committee : end of October 2010

Proposals must be sent by email at Christel Taillibert : taillibe@unice.fr