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The art of Randy Thom

 Sound designer (FW35)

Sound continuity and tragedy in La Cienaga

Sound continuity and tragedy in La Cienaga Sound design in the Argentinian feature La Cienaga. By Eleonora Rapan

La Cienaga opens with thunder announcing the arrival of a storm – a storm that precedes a series of events revealing it as a warning sign like an ancient premonition. From off screen, gunshots are heard whose timbre connect them to the thunder. They suggest the presence of an imminent scene in which a group of kids sporting rifles and guns are hunting on the hill. Cutting to one of the titles at this point does not interrupt the continuity of sound and points towards something beyond the frontiers of the diegetic: that is, the mix of all these sounds is filtered (I believe it is processed through a lowpass filter and some EQ) and played with less volume, which masks some electronic low frequency sounds that blend together the diverse elements of the track. This blurred quality of the mix – heard while seeing one of the credits – suggests the presence of an external audition, that someone is listening from a place outside the story, yet inside the film, in that virtual place of the director/narrator. When we listen to a voice-over or narration the place of the voice is clear. In this case, however, we feel the presence of someone who is talking to us not as an actor or as a ‘proper’narrator.