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Internal diegetic sound

by Michelle Langford

When thinking about the provenance of sound key questions to ask include: Where does sound come from? Who has access to this sound?
Internal diegetic sound: sound that comes from inside the mind of a character; subjective sound that can’t be heard by other characters. This sound is part of the story world, but it originates within the character. In this clip from ‘A Prophet’, we hear a mix of non-diegetic music, ambient sounds of the car and the road as well as dialogue. Toward the end of the clip however, the gunshots and breathing resonate in a way marks a passage from external to internal diegetic sound. Visually this is also marked by the use of slow motion, which enhances the effect of the internalised sound.

Internal diegetic sound in A Prophet (Un prophète)

Internal diegetic sound in A Prophet (Un prophète)

from A Prophet (Un prophète) (2009)
Creator: Jacques Audiard
Posted by Michelle Langford