Passage à l'acte (1993) Nov 16, 2015 20:38:46 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Nov 16, 2015 20:38:46 GMT -5
Passage Ã l'acte (1993)
Directed by: Martin Arnold
Directed by: Martin Arnold
Passage Ã l'acte takes roughly ten seconds from To Kill a Mockingbird and makes it an eleven minute short film by, essentially, putting its audio and visual track on a metaphorical turntable and spiraling everything into distortion. The result is a hypnotic auditory assault that relies on patterned out noise and nonsense for the entirety of the shortâs runtime. Sometimes funny, sometimes odd, and sometimes agonizingly repetitive, itâs one of the most curious oddities of film Iâve yet to see.
Extracting a meaning from this is like trying to find a sand grain in a bag of dirt. While it may be there, good luck trying to find the exact spec that makes the process worthwhile. Because this is a work of experimentation, I find the meaning rests in the purpose of what Martin Arnold found fascinating enough to warrant the existence of Passage Ã l'acte. To me, thatâs the versatility and incredibly manipulative form of sound and film. The dialog in this short, composed, from what I can tell, of largely fragmented sentences said in a straight-forward, unambiguous manner by the actors, seems like it only has one way of being said. It isnât until Arnold slows the dialog down, speeds it up, interjects other noises and lines of dialog over it, and loops it that it sounds completely different. Scout, the little girl in the film, says âIâm tryingâ in the film, but here, it sounds like "Iâm Twain," "Mark Twain," "Iâm train," and "Train" at various different points in the short.
The manipulation of sound here is a huge reason, I feel, Arnold even bothered essentially remixing a rather unremarkable scene from one of American cinemaâs most beloved classics. The dialog in this To Kill a Mockingbird scene is so far past distorted it doesnât even mirror English; even the visuals become convoluted in the film, in addition to the sound effects, with Scoutâs concluding kiss on Atticusâs cheek sounding less like a kiss and more like a repeated chomping at his cheek.
As far as its contribution to the world, it manages to either be the funniest eleven minutes of oneâs life, or the most agonizing, depending on how you look at it. It almost seems like one of the original internet memes, though it was made long before the internet was. At only eleven minutes long, it manages to go by fast enough where the joke doesnât become old or repetitive (paradoxically so), but long enough to fully realize the absurdity of the entire act.
Auditory manipulation and the use of diegetic sound has long been a factor in cinema and Passage Ã l'acte showcases what can happen when audio is distorted far beyond any kind of comprehension, to the point of being a series of audio patterns that, when looped, produce both comedy and tedium. It successfully manages to arbitrarily break down the anatomy of an ordinary scene in To Kill a Mockingbird right down to each noise and sound. Its existence is questionable, and a reward for patient viewers may not even exist; itâs an absurdist way to break down and experiment by taking a straight-forward moment in a film and making it anything but.
Directed by: Martin Arnold.