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Directing the Documentary, 5th Edition by Michael Rabiger

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Chapter 33Using Music and Working with a Composer

When and When Not to Use Music

Documentaries, like fiction films, commonly use music to build tension, facilitate a transition, or lighten material that would otherwise be dull. Most interesting is when music suggests what cannot be seen, such as a character’s expectations, interior mood, or the feelings that he withholds. In Pernille Rose Gr ø nkj æ r’s lyrical and delicate The Monastery: Mr. Vig and the Nun (2006, Denmark), the 82-year-old Mr. Vig remarks that during all his long life he has never known love. As recounted in Chapter 17 (Figure 17-7), he’s a former parish priest trying to donate his rural castle as a future monastery. To his dismay, the nun who comes from Moscow to accept it ...

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