"I am no longer afraid": A case study on the musical communication of trauma in narrative film and television

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McGlynn, James Denis
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In Hollywood film and narrative television, we often see filmmakers bestow narratives of personal tragedy, trauma and loss upon their protagonists. Whether or not this is seen as a time-tested and efficient literary device or as a hackneyed and superficial representation of trauma, it is undeniably one of the most recurrent tropes of characterization in narrative film. Exploring the traumatic past of a troubled protagonist is routinely used as an attempt to enhance audiences’ understanding of a character, affording us insights into their motivations, flaws and desires. Such narratives are equally used to account for the actions of unpardonable antagonists and antiheroes as Jeffrey Bullins reminds us [1] and, quite often, this “dark and troubled past” idiom simply serves filmmakers as a convenient means of narrative exposition. Pelin Başci describes this latter quality and the intersecting narrative frames it can afford a film, whereby diary entries, therapy sessions and other...
Film music , Film scores
McGlynn, J. D. (2021) '"I am no longer afraid": A Case Study on the Musical Communication of Trauma in Narrative Film and Television', Journal Of Popular Music Studies, 33, pp. 43-49. doi: 10.1525/jpms.2021.33.4.43
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