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schencka
_Hero_: Excellent Use of Diagetic Sound in Film
Tags: film

Diegetic sound in film is sound that is "in scene."

Non-diegetic sound comes from the outside, kind of like a deus ex machina, which is a kind of random thing that comes into the film to solve the conflict of the film or drama. The wikipedia entry on non-diegetic insertion of sound needs some help.

Diegetic is the better form of sound, in my opinion, because it comes from the characters themselves.

Two scenes that use diagetic sound come to my mind specifically: the "Ride of the Valkyries" scene in Apocalypse Now (which shows a character turning on Richard Wagner's classic piece) and the Donnie Yeung/Jet Li fight scene from Hero, where a blind man plays a koto for a pittance while the fighters wage mental battle.

The former:



The latter:



The strong use of sound in both scenes can be contrasted with the Michael Bay / Jerry Bruckheimer film Transformers. Instead of the actors' faces and body language showing whatever the scene should develop, the director places outside sound to hammer in the scene's meaning.

Most noticeable is the repetition of what I'd call the "be patriotic / men in authority will solve our problems" music, used manipulatively in summer blockbuster films with Bay and Bruckheimer, two poorly-regarded but wildly successful Hollywood men -- I would call them purveyors of schlock.

Looking down their respective Internet Movie Database pages makes me recall many a clich├ęd, kitschy use of film sound, poorly developed characters, tortured storytelling, as well as a development of the archetype of the "American Hero" which I would argue has helped shape US foreign policy since 2001, since similar memes were used (and still used) by the mainstream media in the lead-up to the Iraq War.

Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer collaborations:
Transformers (2007)
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Armageddon (1998)
The Rock (1996)

Jerry Bruckheimer without Bay:
Independence Day (1996)
Con Air (1997)
Top Gun (1986)

Geez, I've been looking on YouTube for a while, and could not find good examples of non-diegetic sound from either guy.

And I've discovered that there's no wikipedia entry for non-diegetic sound. Ours for the making, and this entry may continue later.


No profanes - sacred
 
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