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Sound in Opening of Isaac Juliens Frantz Fanon Black Skin White Mask Marci Ikeler Language of Film December 7 2000 Sound is a very important element in any film however it receives particular importance in a documentary because the director must weave together factual information with nondiegetic music non-simultaneous dialogue and recreated sound effects In the documentary Frantz Fanon Black Skin White Mask director Isaac Julien confronts many of these challenges successfully within the first few minutes of the film In the opening sequence of the film Julien presents the title and production credits over a soundtrack of nondiegetic music This sound is overlaid with the onscreen diegetic external sound effect of chalk scraping a chalkboard correspondingly we see a simultaneous image of a hand writing text on a chalkboard Finally three booms of a bass drum in the music track with a mellow timbre low pitch and medium volume appear in synch with the visual presentation of the production credits on the screen In this manner Julien prepares us for a film with a complexly layered soundtrack After the credit sequence Julien introduces the audience to the films major themes in an exposition sequence that depicts a man chanting in a psychological institution His chanting is diegetic onscreen rhythmic and displays high fidelity in terms of realism The only low fidelity aspect occurs in terms of sound perspective the volume of the mans chattering does not vary although his proximity to the camera in the visual image varies Also there is a sound effect track of heavy breathing and static background noise so that the silence between the mans chanting does not seem surprisingly empty Finally nondiegetic operatic music enters the soundtrack over the dialogue and sound effect tracks creating a pensive tone that reflects Frantz Fanons struggles with racial identity Overall Julien manages to create an excellent opening to the film Frantz Fanon Black Skin White Mask through his use
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