"I Need to Wake Up" The narrative function of soundtracks in climate change documentaries.
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Climate change has been a much-debated topic for years and will continue to be so. The documentary is a medium to inform people about climate change issues. Soundtracks in these documentaries cast our perception of and attitudes towards the environment. Research on the soundtrack in environmental documentaries is lacking, while consciousness about climate change is rising. To contribute to the analysis of soundtracks in environmental documentaries, this paper provides a close reading of Before the Flood (2016), An Inconvenient Truth (2006) and An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017). The aim of this paper is to examine to what extent the soundtrack contributes to the narrative in documentaries about climate change. The case studies feature a dystopian storyline, which are often found in the genre of horror films. Therefore, this paper will also examine to what extent these documentaries incorporate horror conventions with regard to the function of their music and their placement in the narrative. The analyses are conducted by using theories from the current discourse on the study of environmental documentaries, the narrative role of soundtracks, horror conventions and immersion. The soundtracks and visuals of the case studies will be closely analyzed to determine the similarities and differences between the documentaries. I argue that the soundtracks in the case studies enhances the narrative and that horror conventions are used to trigger the viewer to reflect upon themselves.