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Mazin Helal


“In the hands of an artist silence can be the loudest of noises, just as black, in a brilliant design, can be the brightest of colors”. (cavalcanti, A. 1985, 98)

Silence is not merely the absence of sound likewise, black is not the absence of color. It takes much more to define what is silence and understand its space in reality and how it is translated in filmic language, as it can traverse various contexts. It’s never absolute, but rather it can achieve significance in relation to what it negates. In this thesis, I attempt to explore the aesthetics of silence, the important role that silence plays in invoking human emotions, how it can deliver the same rich experiences that a full soundtrack can give, and its psychological effect that influences our perception of moving images and their relationship to the film soundtrack.

Through analyzing the Irish film “Hunger” by the director Steve McQueen and exploring the soundscape of the film, one can gain a better understanding of how silence stands as formidable narrative and/or emotional element in the sonic film language.