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Hong Kong ScreenscapesFrom the New Wave to the Digital Frontier$
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Esther M. K. Cheung, Gina Marchetti, and See-Kam Tan

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789888028566

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888028566.001.0001

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Do We Hear the City?: Voices of the Stranger in Hong Kong Cinema

Do We Hear the City?: Voices of the Stranger in Hong Kong Cinema

(p.16) (p.17) 1 Do We Hear the City?: Voices of the Stranger in Hong Kong Cinema
Hong Kong Screenscapes

Esther M. K. Cheung

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter attempts to examine the ethical relationship between self and other by way of focusing on the theme of estrangement in the New Hong Kong Cinema. In his study of the voice-over in cinema, Michel Chion creates a category of “acousmatic voices” or in French the acousmêtre. The acousmêtre refers to the image-voice relation in which one does not see the person one hears. Chion observes that sound film began with visualized sound but very soon it tried to experiment with acousmatic sound—voices without images, or voices divorced from images. These are not the voices of the disembodied, detached voice-over like that of documentary films because they have no personal stake in the film. This area of research has filled a lacuna in the study of cinema because the voice has often been considered as an inseparable and natural part of the image and thus it has seldom been examined as an independent category.

Keywords:   estrangement, New Hong Kong Cinema, voice-over, Michel Chion, acousmatic voices, acousmêtre, sound film, cinema

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