The following is a paper I wrote for Film Analysis:

Pulp Fiction and Smart Sound

Mr. Quentin Tarantino is obviously a master of his art, a genius.  However, it is not until close inspection of his masterpiece, Pulp Fiction, that one can truly understand how good he is.  This paper is not about the genius of Tarantino, but is made possible by that genius.  With Pulp Fiction Tarantino proved that he wasn’t just a hot fad that would come and go, he showed that he could hang with the best.  His control over visual style and especially dialogue is famous (“An interview with Quentin Tarantino”.)  What is less talked about is his mastery over sound.  Sure, his movie soundtracks are some of the most popular out there; however, his ability to use famous songs to great effect in scenes is not what is most impressive.  His mastery of diegetic, or actual, sound in film is what impresses.  The diegetic sounds in Pulp Fiction work seem to always function in more than one way.  They often foreshadow negative events and mirror the character’s feelings and actions, highlighting discursive elements of the film. Read the rest of this entry »