"The hardest part is finding those four or five notes that attach to the film… The rest is just cooking." So says composer Maurice Jarre at the beginning of this deep dive into the art of writing film scores. And he should know, having whipped up once-heard-never-forgotten themes for Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, to name but two.
Jarre certainly bolsters director Jean-Jacques Annaud’s assertion here that, by virtue of their emotional accessibility and lyricism, film composers will be remembered as the classical composers of our time. Still, as interviews with a spectacular array of practitioners (drawn from a long running French TV arts show) make crystal clear, the job is a curious mixture of inspiration and pragmatism: there is no such thing as a film composer commanding final cut. The French have a knack for this kind of thing, witness the prevailing excellence of the modest and insightful 9-time Oscar nominee Alexandre Desplat (The Shape of Water, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Rust and Bone) whose observations constitute a master class on their own.
Jean-Jacques Annaud, Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Peter Weir, Adrian Lyne, Volker Schlöndorff, Jean Rochefort, Alain Corneau, Bertrand Blier, Stéphane Lerouge, Roman Polanski, George Clooney, Gilles Bourdos, Jacques Audiard, Laura Engel, Gérard Mordillat, Frank Darabont, Caroll Ballard, Jodie Foster, Art Linson, Moby, Don Was
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