Constructing voices in Jean-Luc Godard’s Sauve qui peut (la vie) (1979)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This article offers a new reading of the significance of the soundtrack in Jean-Luc Godard’s Sauve qui peut (la vie)/Slow Motion. It concentrates on the organization of music and the ways in which the often-neglected audio arrangement constitutes an essential part of this film’s structure, content and form. In a series of close readings, the interaction between Gabriel Yared’s electronic theme music and an extract from an operatic aria are brought to the fore and the study culminates in a discussion of the famous diegetic musical passage in the closing tracking sequence. This article draws upon Pierre Schaeffer’s early essay on the relay-arts to investigate the key notion of acousmatic sound in this film, in which the listening body and the process of listening come under the spotlight.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-32
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in French Cinema
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2014


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