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- Michel Chion Lecture Performance: The Voice in Cinema, or The Acousmêtre and Me

Michel Chion Lecture Performance: The Voice in Cinema, or The Acousmêtre and Me

Michel Chion Lecture Performance: The Voice in Cinema, or The Acousmêtre and Me

Wed 16 Aug 6:30 PM

General Admission

Presented by Liquid Architecture, Melbourne International Film Festival and ACMI

Acousmêtre – a kind of voice-character specific to cinema that derives mysterious powers from being heard and not seen. The disembodied voice seems to come from everywhere and therefore to have no clearly defined limits to its power.

Lecture performance based around Chion’s two short films Le Grand Nettoyage (1975, 5 minutes); and Eponine (1984, 13 minutes).


When I published my essay La Voie au Cinéma in 1982 – where I proposed the theory of acousmêtre, a word I invented and which had a certain resonance thanks notably to the English translation by Claudia Gorbman of The Voice in Cinema (Columbia University Press, 1999), and the writings of Slavoj Žižek – I had already ‘lived’ this concept. I had lived it both in my life experience – like any child – and also through certain films that particularly marked me, such as Bresson’s A Man Escaped, Hitchcock’s Psycho, Lang’s The Testament of Dr. Mabuse and Syberberg’s Parsifal based on Wagner's opera. And I lived it through my own creative works based on absence and suggestion like Requiem, the 1973 musique concrète composition full of "characters" and "scenes" one does not see, or the short film Le Grand Nettoyage, 1975, a sound film without words.

When I began to write and shoot my film Eponine in 1975, I wanted to consciously ‘test’ this and other concepts of analysis with a film; the character of a mother without a face; the suggestion through sound of an outside world that one never sees (since the film takes place within the walls of a house from which one does not go out); the creation of an imaginary topography. The success of this film showed me that the concepts ‘worked’. Thus, for me, theory is not a dead demonstration. A living theory must be drawn from a personal experience.

In this lecture-performance, I will share projects, sketches, essays, personal creations (including for a future film), alongside excerpts from Bresson, Hitchcock, Lang, Syberberg, and Spike Jonze, who, as some have said, renews the idea of ​​acousmêtre. I’ll present these materials sometimes deprived of sound, sometimes deprived of images, sometimes associated with other images and other sounds, and sometimes accompanied by my own live voice. I will show how easy it is to ‘live’ and to experiment with audio-visual combinations.

Michel Chion, April 9, 2017


Note: the concession price for this event may be claimed by both MIFF and ACMI members


Federation Square
Melbourne, VIC, 3000

A unique institution at the heart of Melbourne's iconic meeting place, Federation Square, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) celebrates, explores and promotes the cultural and creative richness of the moving image in all its forms - film, television and digital culture.

Public Transport

ACMI is located in close vicinity to Flinders Street Train Station and is serviced by both Swanston Street and Flinders Street trams.

Car Parking

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Discount parking is available at Secure Parking locations throughout the CBD. Discounted prices only available by pre-booking through

$15 weekday daytime parking
$4 weekday evening (after 3pm) / all-day weekend parking
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Please note: Flindersgate, 172 Flinders Street, is no longer a discount parking location.

Physical Entrance

The main entrance to ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) is from Federation Square. Wheelchair access is provided at the main entrance and via the accessibility entrance located at the Flinders Street facade (see map Galleries Level) where a lift can take visitors up to Entry Level.

The central lifts provide disabled access to the Cinemas Level.

Wheelchairs are available from the Ticketing & Information Desk if required.

Visually impaired warning markers are located on the floor before each step to provide a clear signal of a change of level.

To view a map of ACMI detailing entrances, levels and accessible amenities visit:


Wheelchair Accessible Seating

Wheelchair accessible seating in ACMI 1 & 2 is located at the rear of the cinema, at cinema entry level. ACMI 1 has an internal lift - this takes visitors to the back row of the auditorium where two reserved wheelchair spaces are available. Wheelchair accessible seating in Studio 1 (Talking Pictures events) is located at the front of the seating area. Please see a member of the Front of House team who will assist you

For more information about accessing ACMI visit:


Accessible Toilet

Accessible Toilets are located to the right of the escalators.


Audio Induction Loops

This venue possesses Audio Induction Loops and/or other assistive listening technology.  This technology is available on request from the Tickets & Information Desk who can be contacted on 03 8663 2200.


Ticket booking

Should you have access requirements, please book your tickets by calling our friendly Box Office staff who will assist you. The contact number is 03 8660 4888.

MIFF is also contactable through the National Relay Service on 133 677 then MIFF Office 03 8660 4898.

Some cinemas have limited wheelchair space, so we recommend booking well in advance.


Accessible Parking

Flinders Lane

Between Spencer and King - 2 spaces, 2 hours


Between Elizabeth and Swanston

2 spaces, 2 hours


Between Swanston and Russell

1 space, 4 hours


Between Russell and Exhibition

1 space, 2 hours

Flinders Street

Between Elizabeth and Swanston

1 space, 2 hours

Russell Street

Between Bourke and Little Bourke

1 space, 2 hours


Between Little Collins and Bourke Street

1 space, 2 hours