Thursday, 20 October 2011

Alexandre Desplat Prologues

The film opens in New York, in a park. It's cold. The scene unfolds from a wide crane shot, zooming slowly in towards the end. That end is a decisive moment and the shot cuts away to the film proper.

And the film is... Carnage? Roman Polanski's new drama has a prologue played out under the titles, in which we see the act that brings the cast together in a New York apartment.

Or perhaps we are talking about Birth, Jonathan Glazer's remarkable supernatural drama of 2004 in which the opening conjures a unique look at the cycle of life.

It might be just as difficult to pick between the scenes on the basis of the music: in either case, the sequences are given a portentous twist by their underscoring, for example not least in the startling use of timpani towards their conclusion. Both scores are composed by Alexandre Desplat, arguably the premium composer working in film today. Desplat speaks at the London Film Festival this morning about his work. Click here for that wonderful opening to Birth, with angel-chatter flutes against the quietly diabolical, bi-tonally clashing, Stravinsky-like piano. And then the timpani.

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