Audio-description reloaded: An analysis of visual scenes in 2012 and Hero

Anna Matamala, Aline Remael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

14 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Taylor & Francis. This article explores whether the so-called new "cinema of attractions", with its supposed focus on visual effects to the detriment of storytelling, requires a specific approach to audio-description (AD). After some thoughts on film narrative in this type of cinema and the way in which it incorporates special effects, selected scenes with AD from two feature films, 2012 (directed by Emmerich) and Hero (directed by Zhang Yimou), are analysed. 2012 is a disaster movie aiming to thrill the audience with action. Hero is an equally visual movie but its imagery has an aesthetic purpose. The analysis investigates how space, time and action are treated in the films and the ADs, and how the information is presented in terms of focalization, timing and phrasing. The results suggest that effect-driven narratives require carefully timed and phrased ADs that devote much attention to the prosody of the AD script, its interaction with sounds and the use of metaphor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-81
JournalTranslation Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015


  • Audio-description
  • Audiovisual translation
  • Cinema of attractions
  • Film narrative
  • Media accessibility


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