Prof. Lisa Coulthard: The sound of violence

On today’s show, Daniel Guillemette spoke with UBC Film Studies professor Lisa Coulthard about her fascinating research on sound and violence.

Some people hate seeing violence on screen, but others seem to relish in it.  Professor Coulthard is one of those people. 

Coulthard is an expert on the use of violence in film, and more specifically how sound can have an impact on cinematic effect.  If you’re interested in filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Micheal Haneke, whose films foreground brutality and gore, you’d love sitting in on one of Coulthard’s classes.  Her research focuses on the ways that viewers engage with violence – and the sounds that accompany it – on the big screen. 

In addition to her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, Coulthard has also studied under renowned critical theorist, Slavoj Zizek.  She’s also worked in the film industry as a foley artist – creating the types of squishy sounds and cringe-inducing effects that violent films need for impact.

Coulthard is currently in the process of writing two books: one called The Super Sounds of Quentin Tarantino and another about contemporary European cinema, called Euro Trash.

In this interview, Coulthard tells us what she’s learned from movies like Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds and Haneke’s White Ribbon.  Check out this week’s podcast to find out more about Lisa Coulthard, and about some other interesting elements of sound and violence in the movies!

 Proftalk interview with Lisa Coulthard


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