Joep's Arthouse Scores

March 2008

Film music fans are often aware of what person scored a film, before even seeing it. While I was waiting for the Brazilian film Ano em Que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias (The Year My Parents Went on Vacation) to start rolling, I didn’t have a clue. So I thought about all Brazilian filmcomposers I could think of; Antonio Pinto, Ed Cortês, Beto Villares, Jaques Morelenbaum and Nana Vasconcelos. A few minutes later, Beto Villares's name passed by during the opening credits of the film. It tells us the story about a boy who’s parents are left wing activists and have to hide for the dictatorship in the 70’s. They send their son away to live with his grandfather, who just had died when arriving. The Jewish nextdoor neighbor then takes care of the child, while the boy prays for his parents to return. Villares’s music is an attractive score with a mixture between Jewish and Brazilian style. It is very subtle music with simple melodies, that easily enhance a variety of emotions. So far no news concerning a cd release. But I suggest looking for Abril Despedaçado (Behind the Sun), with an amazing score by the Villares/Pinto/Cortês trio.

In 2000 David van der Heyden made his debut with a score for the Dutch film Wilde Mossels (Wild Mussels). There wasn’t much score in the film, but enough good quality to convince me. His second feature film was Diep had even less score. In 2007 the director from Wilde Mossels asked him to score Nadine, which enabled him to compose his first long score. In this film a woman kidnaps the baby that came out of her, but which she decided to donate to a couple that couldn’t have a baby. She goes on a long journey with the baby and begins nursersing it with all of her love. The tender side of the music relates to the woman-baby relationship, while the more atmospheric parts are most appropriate for the roadmovie type of film this is. Van der Heyden’s musical palette consists of guitars, a rather small amount of strings and a bunch of samples. This is not a surprising score, but just so well written and performed. ‘‘Wahwah’’ sounds created with guitar pedals add something special to the score, even though they’re not that smashing on their own. The score has been released on cd and can be ordered from the official movie website.

March wasn’t actually such a interesting month for scores. So while covering some others that had music, I’d also like to talk about 4 Luni, 3 Saptamâni si 2 Zile (4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days). A wonderful film about a girl who’s having a illegal abortion near the end of the communism era in Romania. It lacks any type of music. The absence seems logical, as the makers want the viewer to be able to feel the same level of intensity the girl experiences. Director Cristian Mungiu thought the story could be told without any help of music, just keeping it gritty and pure. His previous film, Occident (West), contained a heart whelming comedy score by Petru Margineanu and Ioan Gyuri Pascu.

Written by Joep de Bruijn