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Sound, Is Moved From The Stage To Scenes Of Everyday Life

By Author: solo chen
Total Articles: 129

Three weeks after the release of the first Argentine foray into sound film Argentina Sono Film's Tango! (Moglia Barth, 1933) Los tres berretines (Equipo Lumiton, 1933) premiered in the Astor Cinema, located on the Avenida Corrientes, a center of culture and nightlife in the Buenos Aires of the 1930s.1 The first production of Lumiton, whose compound name fuses light ('lumi') and sound ('ton'), Los tres berretines reflects the studio's collective interest in exploring the creative possibilities of mixing sound and image. Privileging a narrative centering on the conflict of a bourgeois family in Buenos Aires, Los tres berretines uses sound not as a means through which popular music could be more easily diffused to a larger public, as is the case with Tango! And a number of other films in the 1930s, but rather it is explored within a broader spectrum of contexts and places. Therefore, sound, is moved from the stage to scenes of everyday life.

The use of sound in Los tres berretines transformed the way in which Argentine cinema dealt with the inherently spatial relationship between film and viewer. Dramatically altering the composition of the Argentine screenscape, Los tres berretines moves through the spaces and places of the typically porteno passions of movie-going, soccer and tango.2 In doing so, the film presents to the viewer a Buenos Aires that is experienced not only visually but also haptically. This paper explores the ways in which Los tres berretines engages the viewer with a particular geographic relationship with its filmic space. Rooted in the unique situation of the Argentine film industry of the 1930s, which is explored in the next section, Los tres berretines represents the travails of the middle class in the modern metropolis during the decada infame (the 'Infamous Decade'). It is within this context, the middle-class experience of 1930s Buenos Aires, that the viewer is led through the film. Drawing from Guiliana Bruno's notion of site seeing, it is argued that Los tres berretines leads the viewer away from experiencing filmic space solely through sight, engaging them instead to construct the film's sites through the totality of their senses. Initially assembling these sites by associating metonymic fragments with an urban porteno experience, the viewer moves through the cinema, the soccer stadium and the spaces of tango culture.

In order to cull meaning from the particularities of the viewer's mobile experience of filmic space, the paper examines the representation of each of these places in the film. Because each place reproduces a facet of the everyday life of its middle-class target market, ideology and representation are inextricably connected in Los tres berretines. Led on a site seeing tour through places that are at once 'readily identifiable' and 'easy to identify with', the viewer effectively becomes an ego-tourist who is led on a site seeing tour of him or herself.
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