Silence in The Passionate Friends

In 2018, Oswald Iten made a great video essay that dove deep into the music and sound design of Brief Encounter. Three years later, he sets his sights (and his ears) on another David Lean movie, The Passionate Friends. That 1949 melodrama is far less famous than its predecessor Brief Encounter (1945), but the film proves to be just as fertile ground for an incisive analysis of its soundtrack.


This time around though, Iten focusses on the silences just as much as he does on the music and the sound effects. That approach opens up a novel way to interpret the film’s ambiguity. What is the same is the care and elegance with which Iten presents his case in a truly audiovisual manner. Graphical elements are used to support his analysis of the sound design: they help point out patterns and directorial choices. The abstract way in which he visualizes room tones and sound effects is particularly creative and effective. This great video builds on techniques Iten used in earlier soundtrack analyses, while adding new audiovisual strategies to his arsenal.