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Earogenous Zones

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With its capacity to defamiliarize and subvert visual representation, sound is not simply a source of information supplementary to the visual in the cinematic representation of sexuality, but a site of ambiguous ideologies and power relations.

This collection exemplifies a variety of approaches to the sonic representation of sexuality in cinema. It draws on a range of sexual scenarios from pornography to sci-fi to art-house and includes cinema from various cultures and countries. Among the topics addressed are how the deployment of sound is implicated in gender politics in the representation of sexuality and how sounds are able to radically colour and even override the visual and lexical content of a film.

Through sonicity the film-maker can challenge the ideologies at play underneath surface stereotypes, and introduce emotional overtones which meliorate the alienation generally associated with porn. Sound and music can establish a historical period as well as spatially localize sexuality within a framework that problematizes the distinctions between porn and erotica. They can introduce into the ahistorical sextopia of porn the cultural specificity of the notion of ‘pornography’ and indeed can shift a film in and out of that category, even desexualizing the naked human body.

Published: Nov 1, 2010


Section Chapter Authors
Acknowledgments Bruce Johnson
About the Authors Bruce Johnson
Introduction Bruce Johnson
Sound Decisions: Interviews with Ole Ege Bruce Johnson
Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Cliché: Erotic Plenitude in the Films of Russ Meyer Mark Evans, Matt Burgess
The Push/Pull Game: The Dynamics of Sound in Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris, The Last Emperor and The Sheltering Sky Lesley Chow
Depraved Desire: Sadomasochism, Sexuality and Sound in mid-1970s Cinema Clarice Butkus
The Peculiar ‘Love’ Music in Oshima’s Ai no korida James Wierzbicki
Lust in Space: Science Fiction Themes and Sex Cinema (1960–82) Philip Hayward
Zero Gravity: Science Fiction Themed Porn Cinema and Its Soundtracks 1990–2010 Philip Hayward, Emil Stoichkov
“It’s Gotta Be That New Wave Music”: Music in New Wave Hookers Carries the Joke Laura Wiebe Taylor
Making “a Mall Movie about a Man with a 13-inch Penis”: Popular Music Representations of Pornographic Intention Liz Giuffre
Musical Loops: Eyes Wide Shut... Ears Wide Open Kevin Clifton
Multiple Positions: Sound,Sex and Aural Dominance in 9 Songs Andrea Warren
Music,Image,Orgasm:Getting off on the Short bus Marianne Tatom Letts
In Extremis: The Roots, Soundscapes and Significations of Twenty-first-century Zombie Porn Ralph G. Marsh
Index Bruce Johnson

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