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Talking Archives: Voice-Over in Archival Film Practices


Talking Archives: Voice-Over in Archival Film Practices

Khademi Shamami, Keivan (2016) Talking Archives: Voice-Over in Archival Film Practices. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Voice-over narration remains an overlooked element in the study of archival film practices. Theorists and filmmakers have explored the ways in which voice-over can be employed in documentary and fiction filmmaking, and in the essay film, but there has been little attention to its role in archival film practices. Some of the permutations of voice-over include the use of several pieces of narration from different sources; disembodied narrator; subjective commentary; unreliable narrator; self-reflexive narration, and no voice-over at all. Formal experimentation with voice-over in archival films has allowed filmmakers to introduce their often fragmentary audio-visual materials into new contexts and to establish novel forms of continuity. With equal focus on the aesthetic qualities of voice-over narration and its role in relation to narrative, this thesis examines the use of voice-over in the archival films of Peter Greenaway and Craig Baldwin. Through a close textual analysis of their films, this thesis aims to demonstrate the potential of voice-over narration in shaping the viewer's perception of the archive. It is argued that through an emphasis on the discontinuous nature of archival documents in their films (on thematic as well as formal levels) they construct partially-developed narratives, which serve different ends in each film. It is shown that whereas Greenaway's use of voice-over narration points to the subjectivity of the act of accessing and experiencing the archive, narration in Baldwin's cinema primarily draws attention to socio-political circumstances in which certain audio-visual "documents" have been produced. Interrogating the role of voice-over narration in archival film practices, this thesis concludes with the possibilities for further experimentation and theorization in this field.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Khademi Shamami, Keivan
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Film Studies
Date:7 April 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Russell, Catherine
ID Code:980987
Deposited On:02 Jun 2016 16:27
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:52
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