Martin Scorsese – The Art of Silence

Movies are an audiovisual art form. Nevertheless, there still seems to be an unwritten hierarchy between its two constituent parts: sound often has to take the back seat to the visuals in film analysis and appreciation. Video essays too often demonstrate this blind spot (or deaf spot, if you want).


Not so in this video essay by Tony Zhou. He takes a look and a listen at Scorsese’s movies, focussing on his dramatic uses of silence. He considers both complete silence and lulls in the sounds design, always tying these moments of auditory calm to the characters’ state of mind and to the themes of the films. This is an exploration of point-of-hearing instead of the predominantly visual  interpretation of point-of-view.


Like any good essay does, Zhou broadens his discussion far beyond the confines of Scorsese’s filmography. He comments on the state of sound design in current blockbuster movies, and puts the changing appetites for silence in a historical perspective by comparing movies from different eras.