Peter Strickland: Moving in Stereo

Peter Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio (2012) and The Duke of Burgundy (2014) are showing in June and July, 2019 on Mubi in the United Kingdom.“…if the film or television image seems to ‘speak’ for itself, it is actually a ventriloquist’s speech.”—Michel Chion, Audio-Vision, 1990In an early scene in The Duke of Burgundy, a character describes how one can tell two seemingly-identical species of butterfly apart by the sound each makes, saying, “Since these species are so visually indistinguishable from each other, the sound they produce should differentiate the two.” In a way, the statement provides a thesis for much of the cinema of Peter Strickland relative to his aesthetic forebears. According to the majority of film writing that takes either of his two features Berberian Sound Studio or The Duke of Burgundy as a subject, Strickland’s oeuvre owes something to European genre cinema—more popularly known in French
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