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Thread: Diegetic and non-diegetic sound question?

  1. #1

    Default Diegetic and non-diegetic sound question?

    Hi,
    I have been given a list of questions in college and two of them I am really stuck on what to write. Can anyone help?
    1. There are films which blur the distinction between diegetic sound and non-diegetic sound. Can you think of your own example, explaining how and also why, you think it blurs this distinction?
    I was going to write about The Wizard of Oz and how during certain scenes when music is playing the scarecrow dances and Dorothy acknowledges his performance - what do you think?

    2. The narration of a film crucially shapes relations of order, duration and frequency between story and plot events. Choose and explain one example each of a manipulation of order, duration and frequency from a film you have seen recently?
    I don't know this at all - any help greatly appreciated.
    Thanks so much.

  2. #2
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    Maybe for no.2 look at Casino. It's got a load of narration from multiple characters and it's a good excuse to watch or re-watch a great film.

  3. #3

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    Hi

    For question number 2, you could talk about the Rashomon effect which is used in a lot of films. This is basically the telling of the story from multiple POVs and the plot changing and revealing different things as the film moves along. It comes from the 1950 film Rashomon directed by Akira Kurosawa. Some examples of the technique are Surveillance, 21 Grams, Narc. Hope this helps!
    Here's Tom with the weather!

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    For question 1: the closing scene of 'The Usual Suspects' has a montage sequence where the investigator realizes he's been had. There are lots of non-diagetic sound bytes of statments made earlier in the movie (but when they were originally made during the course of the film they were diegetic). The sound bytes have been used both ways.

    Technically during this scene you can consider this an internal commentary (in which case its strictly non diegetic), but he reacts in real time to the realization of the information he hears in his head (meaning the source of the sound IS happening on screen so it could also be diegetic).

    I think it's fairly blurred at any rate.

  5. #5

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    Jaysus, they weren't using terms like diegetic and non-diegetic back in my day. Diegetic sound is something on the soundtrack that exists in the world of the film (a song playing on a car radio for example) and non-diegetic sound is a sound that is clearly meant to be unheard in the fictional world of the film (the incidental music or the theme music being obvious examples). I've seen countless films where a non-diegetic song has segued into that same song diegetically coming out of a radio. I know I have seen this but, um, can't think of any examples. I think you're onto something with the musicals anyway and I'd imagine there are plenty of fourth wall breaking movies (like comedies etc.) where the characters in the film comment on the incidental music or theme music and blur the distinction between the two for comic effect.

    As for question 2, the way it is worded is very confusing. If I was given this question I'd have to ask what it meant exactly before answering it. It seems they want you to give separate examples of narration manipulating 1: order, then 2: duration and then 3: frequency and to take these three separate examples from the same film you have seen “recently”? That is a tall order and why is it important that you have seen the film “recently”? Also, what exactly is meant by 'frequency'?

    I also hope they mean 'narration' as in 'narrative'. I take it that they do not mean 'narration' as in voice over.

    Could they be getting at something like the scene in Silence of the Lambs where the audience are duped into thinking that Crawford and the F.B.I. are about to burst into Buffalo Bill’s house when in fact Starling is calling to Bill’s door miles away. This is more of a spatial deceit that manipulates ‘order’ and pulls a fast one on the audience because it knows what they expect from a traditional narrative sequence and uses that against them. The screen writer John Sherlock calls this type of thing ‘smoke-screening the audience’, making the audience think one thing when another is correct and revealing it at the last moment.

    It’s a good thing to be discussing the manipulation of narratological devices and sound design but it would be more constructive if the language used was not that of a legal document drawn up by a drunk solicitor. Who wrote question 2?

    OK, maybe that wasn’t helpful but I’ll post my reply to you anyway and I’ll be interested to see what others come up with. Good luck with it.

  6. #6

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    Question 2 is beggin for a bangin about Memento. Fair play to srigney for pointing out other examples.

    Question 1 is tougher to me (great choice from Simon - the single scene that made me want to become a film editor).

  7. #7

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    Thanks soooooooooo much guys, you have been a great help, I really like The Silence of the Lambs scene you are on about! :-)

  8. #8

    Default Help with last assignment - Please!

    Hi, I don't know what section to put this question in so just opted for this one. Could anyone give me any tips with my last assignment that I will need help with.
    Here is the question:
    The narration of a film crucially shapes relations or order, duration and frequency between story and plot events. Choose and explain one example each of a manipulation of order, duration and frequency from a film you've seen recently?
    Can anyone help?
    Thanks so much :-)

  9. #9

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    You want us to write your essay? Ha nice move

  10. #10

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    Hi Witchymand,

    I'd write about the events in Pulp Fiction. The start where the man and woman hold up the diner is brought back at the end and there are two subplots with Bruce Willis character and also John Travoltas character. It was one of the first films to really mess with time and spawned a lot of copycat scripts in later years.

    Another film where they manipulate the order is Momento. It uses a number of Flashbacks to construct the film out of chronological order. Check out this article “Christopher Nolan’s Memento – Analysis of the narrative structure of a noirish revenge film “ by Torben Schmidt.
    http://www.christophernolan.net/file...ntoSchmidt.pdf.


    Look up Non-Linear narratives. Heres a list of a lot of films that have non-linear narrations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor...arrative_films

    Heres a good article on manipulating time....... http://www.scribd.com/doc/8332514/Manipulating-Time.

    Film Narrative...... http://facstaff.gpc.edu/~lbowen/Film...ve%20notes.htm

    Hope that helps, good luck with the assignment! At least its an interesting topic

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchymand View Post
    The narration of a film crucially shapes relations or order, duration and frequency between story and plot events. Choose and explain one example each of a manipulation of order, duration and frequency from a film you've seen recently?
    Narration or Narrative?

  12. #12
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    The question says narration which is obviously very different to narrative. So I took it as meaning narration hence my suggesting Casino.

    Note: Have merged these two threads.

  13. #13

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    Thanks a million, no don't want you to write my essay, just wanted an idea to go on, and for that I am extremely thankful, excellent ideas to work on now, thanks sooooooo much :-)

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