Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video that explores sound in Pablo Larraín’s Jackie.
At the end of the day, a movie is just two things: what we see and what we hear.
The former tends to hog the bulk of attention. Images, after all, are immediate and assertive. They’re easier to describe in isolation, as is their impact on us as viewers. I can confidently gush about an amusing whip-pan, a heartbreaking long take, or an exhilarating crane shot. I can parse the narrative punch of thematic colors, cut-away close-ups, and evocative mise-en-scène.
We tend to recall scenes and setpieces with visual touchstones. But for the untrained ear, sound has more subconscious rhythms. Its methods are less overt and more opaque, and sound design is often considered a success when it goes unnoticed. So it’s always a good reminder that, indeed, sound is working away in the wings. It plays a vital and complex role in how we digest stories.
The video essay below offers a marvelous breakdown of the narrative power of sound, unpacking the aural elements of Pablo Larraín‘s Jackie. The film follows Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) before, during, and after the assassination of her husband. And the essay unpacks how the film uses sound to impart the evolving grief, hope, and trauma of the former First Lady, from the alterations of her voice to the aural intimacy of nonverbal sounds and the emotional coloring of short motifs that unite moments of loneliness across the film.
Watch “The Sound of Jackie“:
Who made this?
Oswald Iten is a Swiss freelance illustrator, animator, and film critic. You can browse his back catalog of video essays on his Vimeo page. You can find Iten’s official website, which includes his catalog of illustrations and animation showreels, here.
More Videos Like This
- Another sample of Iten’s work: “Musical Patterns in the Films of Christopher Nolan“
- Here’s The Nerdwriter breaking down how Steven Spielberg gets you to see with your ears
- The only thing as or more important than sound is silence. Here’s Every Frame a Painting with a look at Martin Scorsese‘s deliberate and powerful use of silence
- Why do Hayao Miyazaki‘s films sound so pretty?
- Here’s Lessons From the Screenplay on how A Quiet Place weaponized sound design into a key element of the story
- Vox has an incredible breakdown on how Hans Zimmer used an auditory illusion (called Shepherd tones) to make Dunkirk intense as hell
- Here’s Thomas Flight on how The Lighthouse uses sound (rain! wind! farts!) to build an atmosphere
- Terrence Malick‘s films might be filled with narration, but as this video from Fandor attests, their soundscapes are just as important
Related Topics: Jackie, The Queue