Listening And Writing Response; Film Study â€" “The Power Of One”

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade July 2001

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The term "˜Power' is a very broad one. It can be used to describe the physical strength of something, such as a mans ability to use his muscles, it can be used in a sense to describe ones control over a population such as Adolf Hitler had over Nazi Germany in World War 2. It can also be used to describe someone's or a groups or just about anything else for that matter's emotional strength, as it is used to in the film, "The Power of One". Sound is one the key features that is used to portray power in the film.

In the film "The Power of One" the most outstandingly powerful character was undoubtedly P.K. P.K was the central character in the story, thus his role was pivotal to the plot. P.K's image of power was greatly enhanced by the appropriate use of sound throughout the film.

On various occasions throughout the film sound was used at key points to accentuate P.K's power such as when the elephant was charging at him in his dream, and during one of his many boxing matches. This demonstrates how sound can be used to enhance the power of an individual.

Music is used to great effect during the film. It is used in such a way that seems to "˜speak' to the viewer. When it is used to accentuate certain points during the film it creates a very powerful and moving mood. Such as in the scene where the natives, who were being held hostage in the prison, all came together to perform a concert sung in their native language to honour the release of Doc from the prison. As they were singing the natives felt a great sense of unity and power unlike anything they had ever felt before. Ultimately, this lead to the death of Giel Piet, but he died a free man because he died for what he believed in.

During the film speech is used greatly to define the social standing of the racial groups. The groups at the top, such as the Dutch background South Africans, which were known as the "˜Afrikaners', spoke in a much more articulate and "˜proper' way compared with the lower classed social groups like the black South Africans. Another example of the power of speech being enhanced by the use of sound, is that during that time period around World War 2 the white South Africans spoke to the blacks as if they were pieces of dirt in a very demeaning and authorative manner, so understandably the blacks were scared for their safety so their voices where very weak and intimidated. This created a very strong sense of social division.

An example of sound enhancing the power a group can be found in the scene where P.K. is boxing against a black man in a black village. During the fight there was enormous support for the native fighter Gideon Duma. If the majority of the crowd were Afrikaners and a minority of natives the noise coming from the natives would have been significantly less. This outnumbering of race gave the natives the confidence to cheer and make a lot of noise without having to worry about being harassed and down-trodden by anyone.

An example of the power of nature being enhanced by the use of sound is portrayed by the elephant in P.K's dreams. The immense size of the beast coupled with its deafening screech really shows us its awesome power. Another example of the power of nature being enhanced by the use of sound in "The Power of One" is when P.K travels out into the South African wilderness to a great waterfall after he is told that he will "find the answer" in nature. The sound of the waterfall has been amplified and emphasized to enhance the magnificence and importance of the landmark. The extra sound detail given simply accentuates the greatness and meaning of the attraction.

The examples above all show how the image of power is enhanced by the use of sound in the film "The Power of One". Without sound in these instances, the power would be significantly less and not as greatly accentuated. In "The Power of One" sound helped to give people in hopeless situations the strength and power to carry on through their troubles. It also showed the awesome power of nature and illustrates the how music can be used to create a better and more clear image of power. In conclusion it can be said that the use of sound definitely enhanced the image of power in the film "The Power of One".