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In the nightmare in the middle of the film, George Valentin experienced a sort of sound amplification in his changing room. For example, some sounds got extremely louder when he put down his glass, when he heard women chatting, when he heard the dog barking. All the while only he was mute.

What is going on here? Why is he still mute? Why are all the sounds being amplified?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

He was having a nightmare. He was experiencing a period where talking movies became more and more popular and silent movies were less and less produced. He feared for his future as an actor. His unconscious mind picked on this very fear and created this awful dream: a world where everything and everyone is drowned by loud sounds and where he is alone and mute, that is to say a powerless nobody.

Since the movie was made in 2011, it could actually use sounds (as opposed to a real silent movie) to make that dream even more startling to the audience. I personally thought it was the best scene in the movie.

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