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Racialized Sounds and Cinematic Affect

Racialized Sounds and Cinematic Affect

My Nightingale, the Russian Diaspora, and Musical Film in Manchukuo

(p.225) 10 Racialized Sounds and Cinematic Affect
The Affect of Difference
Inyoung Bong
University of Hawai'i Press

This essay examines cinematic representations of the Russian diaspora within Manchukuo and the Japanese empire, through an analysis of the relation of sound, singing, and music to movement and affect in the film My Nightingale (1943), directed by Shimazu Yasujiro. This story of Russian exiles is set within architectural spaces that have intimate connections with sound and music and that, because they are marked as culturally different, take on racialized meanings. With the focus on sonic, sensory, and vocal elements as “cinematic affect,” the film’s images are rendered as pure potential and indeterminacy—particularly in scenes where there are disjunctions between those images and the sources of sound, speech acts, and subtitles. Such disjunctions create resonances that go beyond the ideological and pedagogical apparatus of film production to establish a new unbounded hermeneutic space without a definite and stable center.

Keywords:   My Nightingale, Man'ei, Manchukuo, Harbin, White Russians, film scoring, cinematic affect, affection image, Shimazu Yasujiro

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