Παρασκευή, 23 Ιουνίου 2017

Blog no. 24: Films & music

Dear, uh, listeners?

  This one's for music (again) so let's just say the greeting makes sense, yeah? Great. Two days ago was international music day as I found out, and I can't simply let that go unnoticed because if you're not gonna celebrate music what the hell will you ever celebrate about? I wrote a piece in greek for an online magazine a year ago, so allow me to slightly plagiarize myself and translate some of it for this one. Oh and since I'm a huge fan of music and I like to consider myself a cinephile, it made sense to write about them both, so here goes.
  You see, those two mediums are so closely intertwined, nowadays even more so than in previous decades, so you can't have one without the other. Even the absence of a soundtrack is, in a sense, an artistic choice some filmmakers use, with the most concrete example being the complete lack of background music for a large stretch of the Coen bro's "No country for old men" duration, which made everything so realistic, grounded, bleak, giving a sense of dread, making us scared of the things the ever-menacing Javier Bardem (and his equally menacing haircut) would do to get what he wants.
  On the other side of the spectrum, there are others that literally hang from their soundtracks as if it were their lifeline. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Jaws wouldn't be nearly as good as they are without John Williams' incredible scores, "The Lord of the Rings" wouldn't be nearly as epic as it is without Howard Shore's bombastic compositions. Einaudi's score for "Les intouchables" and Tiersen's "Amelie" one are basically front and centre in every "listen while you're studying, start contemplating life instead" playlist. Abel Korzeniowski's score (whose name I definitely did NOT have to Google) made my heart fucking pound during last year's "Nocturnal Animals" and I'm not ashamed to say that I shed a tear or two at the end of the second Pokemon movie, when the beautifully simple ocarina melody was played during Lugia's revival. Hell, even forgettable or mediocre movies like "The Notebook" and "Remember Me" are elevated considerably solely on the merit of their incredible soundtracks.
  Whenever you're listening to Simple Minds' "Don't you forget about me" the image of the criminal's fist from "The Breakfast Club" immediately jumps to your head, "Mad World" takes you back to Jake Gylenhaal's manic laughter from "Donnie Darko", The Do's "Dust it off" makes you gaze into "I Origin's" protagonists' beautiful eyes, and Debussy's "Claire de lune" puts you next to "Ocean's Eleven" and in front of the Bellagio Fountains. More recently Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" made me tear up during the not too shabby Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 but that might be because it's a really really good song regardless. Tarantino, amongst others, is a master of making a song get stuck in your head and connecting it with his movies and his smug face. Django's "Freedom", Reservoir Dog's "Stuck in the middle with you" and "Little green bag", and Kill Bill's "Twisted nerve" are some of the songs you'll find in my playlist from that stupidly eccentric, brilliant dude's filmography.
  Other directors more recently found some very inventive ways to fit their soundtracks into their movie's narrative. Matthew Vaughn, known for his extremely violent action scenes, manages to blend blood and mayhem with odd music choices in "Kick-Ass" and "Kingsmen", making the scenes jarring, ridiculous and, above all, hella fun. Hans Zimmer uses Edith Piaf's "Je ne regrette rien" as a literal tool for his characters to time their "kicks" in Christopher Nolan's Inception, and utilizes various slowed-down versions of the song in most of the film's soundtrack which is a brilliant way to represent the whole "time slows down in dreams" concept. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross worked together in Fincher's "Gone Girl" in a way that differentiated the dreamy sequences of Amy's diary to the grounded and mysterious scenes of Nick Dunne's attempts to find the truth. In Wong Kar Wai's "In the mood for love", the same song is being repeated throughout the whole movie, but the duration of it is analogous to the closeness of the two main characters.
   There's just so many examples but, being a *cough* responsible *cough* university student, I will spare you the details so I can actually pretend to study for my exams. Either way you can all make me and yourselves a favour and pay attention to a movie's soundtrack, it might just make you understand movies a bit more and make your music collection grow a bit bigger.

Your friendly know-it-all,
Stelios Zesiades.

P.S.

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