For the purposes of studying what he calls “staging,” Steven Soderburgh has released a black-and-white version of Raiders of the Lost Ark (Spielberg, 1981). He has also removed the film’s original sound/dialogue and replaced it with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s soundtrack to the Social Network (Fincher 2010). He writes:
I operate under the theory a movie should work with the sound off, and under that theory, staging becomes paramount.
Soderburgh describes this project as a process that simplifies the image, strips it down. The assumption here is that black-and-white images and contingent sound allow viewers to concentrate their minds (on staging…). However, there’s nothing all that simple about this audio-visual concoction, which brings the tools of silent cinema together with the golden age of the Hollywood blockbuster and the sounds of its collapse in the era of social media.