Sounds of Sex & Violence

unpublished talk delivered at the Adelaide International Film Festival, Adelaide, 2003
Once Upon A Time In The West (1969)


While the sexual is presumed to be a scopic, occular affair, it is in the unsettling erogenous shifts unleashed by musical accompaniment and sonic detailing that eroticism is transformed from the imaginary into the palpable. Rendered on the cinematic screen, sex becomes moist when it is audible. While English-speaking cinema pathetically relies on a thousand-and-one bastard sons of Woody Allen to provide 'dry' commentary without ever showing any cock, other vibrant cultures sound their sex on the screen with utmost volume. From Seijun Suzuki's tactile transistorized pop, to Sergio Leone's erotic orchestrated canzona, to Dario Argento's bombastic eclectrified rock, the proposition remains firm: drama is violence and sound is sex.

Text © Philip Brophy. Image © Serio Leone.