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Speaker Series: Tyler Parks 13/2 “Positively Paranoid: Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism, Regional History, and Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Neighbouring Sounds (2012)”

February 13 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Positively Paranoid: Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism, Regional History, and Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Neighbouring Sounds (2012)

Dr. Tyler Parks (University of St. Andrews)

Wednesday 13th February 2019

3:00 PM Film Studies Boardroom

A current strategy for art cinema revolves around engaging specific local or national issues that resonate with the experiences of international audiences. Often though, films employing this approach also prompt those spectators who can to call on knowledge of the histories that enframe the events they depict, although such historical context is only tentatively evoked. One such film is Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Neighbouring Sounds (O som ao redor, Brazil, 2012), which juxtaposes unchecked urban speculation and development in the modern-day city of Recife with the spectre of violent exploitation associated with sugar production in the region’s recent past. In this talk, I negotiate the cosmopolitan appeal of both the film’s formal techniques and its focus on a ubiquitous style of urban development, on the one hand, and its subtle suggestions, on the other, that adequately articulating and confronting the city’s transformation necessitates recalling regional histories. I focus in particular on the role played by affects of fear and paranoia produced by techniques like zooms, the amplification of diegetic sounds, and smash cuts, contending that the film pushes spectators to make such feelings a part of a thought linking past and present, built space and forms of human subjectivity. Ultimately, I conclude that the cosmopolitan address of Neighbouring Sounds can be located not only in the subject matter with which it deals, or its referencing of international genres and auteurs, but also in its ethical drive to arrange an encounter with contemporary forces that might open up new avenues for thinking and confronting the global present.

Dr. Tyler Parks is Associate Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of St. Andrews. He completed his Ph.D. in 2015 at the University of Edinburgh and has taught in film studies programmes at Edinburgh and Stirling. His work has appeared in Film-Philosophy and Forum and he is currently completing a monograph on free indirect style as a form of cinematic thinking, examining its ethical and political valences through consideration of the work of Wong Kar-wai, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Pedro Costa, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.  


February 13
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Paul Flaig


Board Room, 99 North St