I'm watching this documentary about Nick Yarris. At the beginning, there are some introductory lines in a black page (I don't know what they call it in English) saying,

... He requested that all appeals cease and his sentence of death be carried out. He agreed to be interviewed about his decision. His story has been independently verified.

  1. What do they call those lines at the beginning of a movie introducing some background information?

  2. What does independently verified mean?


  1. I would call this text a caption. Depending on the exact context, it might also be called a title.

  2. I will assume you have looked up the meanings of these individual words. The phrase independently verified is somewhat idiomatic (it's a "standard" phrase). It means that a third party has checked and confirmed the claims. In this particular case, "third party" means someone not involved with the film.

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  • Thanks for the idependently part. And I've always thought caption refers to writings above or under a picture. Is it ok that it's right in the middle in black screen? And title isn't it the name of a movie? Or both have their meaning extended to be used in this context too? – Yuri Apr 7 '16 at 19:03
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    Here, it means someone not involved with the case directly, i.e. you don't have to believe what Nick said just because he said it, but someone else who has no vested interest in whether or not the story is true checked and verified that the story is true. – WBT Apr 7 '16 at 19:20
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    @Yuri You're correct about how caption and title are usually used. This is an exception. Whether to call text on a black screen (in a movie) a caption or a title depends on what the text is. If it was a quote or a disclaimer, I would call it a caption. If it was introducing the next part of the movie, such as saying "THE NEXT DAY...", I would call it a title. See also title card. – Era Apr 7 '16 at 19:37

To answer 1., the technical term (which I didn't know myself until I Googled it) is "expository intertitle". This would probably not be familiar to anyone but movie makers or film students.

A more understandable term for the average person might be "explanatory text".

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