Omori Delivers Paper at Sorbonne
Kyoko Omori, associate professor of East Asian languages and literatures (Japanese), recently delivered a paper at the international symposium, “Sounds of Exoticism in Cinema,” hosted by Universite´ Sorbonne in Paris, France.
The presentation was titled “From Noise to Music: Soundings in The Neighbor’s Wife and Mine (1931).” Omori discussed the aural logic of Japan’s first full and commercially successful “talkie,” Madamu to nyobo (The Neighbor’s Wife and Mine).
By doing so, she sought to unpack the shifting meaning of foreign, or exotic, sounds at a crucial moment in the history of Japanese cinema. Thematically, the movie introduces jazz as noise, which quickly becomes perceived as music for the “age of speed.” Furthermore, the rise of sound technology brought with it a new relationship between visual and sonic data/experience, which included changes to the aspect ratio of sound film from 3:4 to an almost square frame, presumably changing the way to shoot a movie due to the physical dimensions of the soundtrack.