Backstage pass to the city: The soundscape of Suite Habana
The objective of this article is to underscore the significance of sound for the full appreciation of film through an analysis of the diegetic and non-diegetic sounds and music of Suite Habana/Havana Suite (2003), by Fernando Pérez, a film that has not yet been interpreted from this perspective. The soundscape of Suite Habana offers a compelling understanding of contemporary urban life and the political and cultural transformations that have occurred in Cuban society. From everyday sounds of cooking, cleaning and daily circulation through the city, to songs and compositions by well-known composers and performers, urban sounds in the film present a profound interpretation of the Cuban capital. Despite its similarities with the city symphony film genre of the 1920s, Suite Habana’s focus on the human side of the urban experience sets this film apart from these earlier examples. Drawing also from experimentation in documentary film in early Revolutionary Cuba, Pérez’s film carefully interweaves everyday sounds to highlight the materiality of urban life, while the incorporation of specific musical pieces and performers underscores the impact of historical changes for the island.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: McGill University
Publication date: June 1, 2015
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- In 2013, Studies in Hispanic Cinemas, is changing its name to Studies in Spanish & Latin American Cinemas to reflect more accurately its content, which is dedicated to the study of Spanish-speaking and Latin American cinemas, including the cinemas of Spain and Spanish-speaking South, Central and North America including the Caribbean, as well as Brazil.
Our target readership includes students, teachers and scholars. The journal is written in English to maximize the opportunities for contact between academic disciplines such as Media, Film Studies, Latin American and Post-colonial Studies, as well as Hispanic Studies, thereby encouraging an inter-cultural and inter-disciplinary focus.
View the Studies in Hispanic Cinemas archive from Volume 1, 2004
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