Modern documentary filmmakers use fiction-influenced narrative styles that blur the boundaries between fact and fiction, stretching the limits and rules of the genre set by what is referred to as classic or expository documentary. Another major change in the documentary form and narrative style is the inclusion of the filmmaker in the film. As a result of filmmakers starring in their own films, interacting with the subjects, and narrating the story themselves, documentaries have become more personality driven. In these modern methods, the voices of the narrators and/or the filmmakers carry a significant importance as narrative elements. Taking five music-related documentary films into account—Lot 63, Grave C (Sam Green); Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul (Fatih Akin); Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen, and Jessica Joywise); The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: Metal Years (Penelope Spheeris); and Searching for Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul)—this paper analyzes how the voices of the narrators and/or the filmmakers are used as narrative elements, and what effects these voices have on the narrative styles and the modes of these documentaries.
The Voice as a Narrative Element in Documentary Films
Ufuk Önen is a sound designer, audio consultant, author, and educator. He works and consults on audiovisual, sound reinforcement, cinema sound installation, and electroacoustic projects. He publishes books, articles, and blog posts. He is a member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) and served on its Board of Governors (2017–2019).
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Ufuk Önen; The Voice as a Narrative Element in Documentary Films. Resonance 1 March 2021; 2 (1): 6–18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/res.2021.2.1.6
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