‘Film is like music’, we often hear. It is one of cinema’s most enduring analogies and is usually understood simply as a metaphor. Yet, since its birth, film has not only been compared to music, but it has also been explained through the use of musical terms and even conceived and structured using music as a model. From the French school of Impressionists to the MTV generation of directors, filmmakers as diverse as Sergei Eisenstein, Jean-Luc Godard, Sergio Leone, David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Mike Figgis and many others have been inspired by music and stimulated to think about film in musical terms. While it is now accepted that at the very beginning the comparison with music was motivated by the need to challenge the general view of film as cheap entertainment and to demonstrate its artistic importance, what inspired this comparison in the first place is the fact that both music and film are arts that unfold in time, generating a sense of movement and rhythm. Over the years, various interpretations and versions of the ‘musical metaphor’ applied to film have appeared in both theory and practice, but in the last few decades this idea received fresh impetus thanks to a new generation of filmmakers whose notable musical sensibility is not only displayed in carefully assembled soundtracks or musically edited sequences but also in the internal logic of their films.
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