Next week, we will bring our cameras under the nave of Paris’s Grand Palais to celebrate the kickstarting of film festival Cinema Paradiso‘s second edition. During 11 days the 12,000 square meters of the Champs Elysées historical monument will be turned into a gigantic drive-in, which then transforms into a nightclub as soon as the end credits fade out. Iconic local label Bromance weren’t picked at random take control of the decks for the opening party: every one of the artists involved is a film nut, and well versed in the connections between sound and moving image. With that in mind, we’ve asked them about their favorite movie and the impact they had in their music development.
Brodinski picks: Martin Scorcese – Raging Bull (1980)
“I remember watching over and over the opening credit of Raging Bull when I was young. The music is coming from an opera, composed by Pietro Mascagni. When the opening credit were done, I would just hit the rewind button, again and again, so many times that at the end the VHS tape was worn out.
“I couldn’t explain how neither when it has affected me on making or playing music, but I just remember watching it, and as it was making no sense to have this sweet song over images of someone that was about to fight, it totally made sense to me. I learned way later Scorsese picked the tracks himself from his own record collection with the help of Robbie Robertson to use them as the soundtrack of the movie. Scorsese even included some lyrics from the songs in the dialogue sometimes.
“He wanted the music to reflect the mood of this era and maybe in a way, that’s what inspires me.”
Club Cheval pick: Damien Chazelle – Whiplash (2014)
“Whiplash is about a young drummer who wishes to join the best jazz ensemble of his music school. The ensemble is led by a manic military perfectionist teacher, who tries to push each of his musicians to their limits, hoping to find a new genius, HIS new jazz genius. This movie has been super important for Club cheval, in many ways. Even though we make electronic music, not jazz, Panteros666 advised us to watch it when we started working on our very first live show. He told us – semi-jocking – that he would kind of be this abusive instructor (played by J.K Simmons in the movie) for us! So we all watched it separately. Watching this film created a lot of contradictory emotions. One of them was motivation. Seeing this young drummer’s blood on the drum sticks got us motivated. Hearing him learn the hardest routine got us motivated. Witnessing him being thrown sticks at his face for a wrong tempo got us motivated.
“You can’t achieve anything, especially in a band, without work, perfectionism, and blunt honesty between its members. Whiplash gave us a new terminology to this experience of learning a new live show. Whiplash is now part of our daily vocabulary, when one of us is playing wrong notes, or is showing signs of laziness, one of us is always gonna shout “Whiplash”. We are not afraid to put pressure on each others. And that’s what this movie taught us. Hard work, honesty, sometimes to its hurting maximum, are the only way to achieve your musical goals, whether they seem out of reach at first or not. It’s all about Discipline. No wonder that is our album’s title.”
Louisahhh!!! picks: Alfred Hitchcock – Vertigo (1958)
“My favorite film of all time has long been Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, with a score by Bernard Hermann. The movie is about Scottie Fergeuson (James Stewart), a policeman who is sidelined with a crippling fear of heights after watching a fellow officer fall to his death. Scottie is hired to investigate a friend’s wife (‘Madeline’, played by Kim Novak), a beautiful woman convinced that she is a reincarnation of her great-grandmother, whose life ended in suicide. Shockingly (not), Scottie and Madeline fall in love… No spoiler alerts here, but the ending is one of Hitchcock’s most deftly crafted.
“Vertigo‘s soundtrack is nearly symphonic in stature. It is comprised of five main themes derived from a main melody, each theme attached to a different character or emotion within the film. The music is dark and lush, orchestral (performed by Bernard Herrmann Orchestra) and both supports Vertigobeautifully and stands alone as a singular work. Bernard Herrmann composed the score; he also worked on many other Hitchcock movies (Psycho, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much), in addition to classics like Taxi Driver, Cape Fear and Citizen Kane.
“I love this score because it spares no expense when it comes to drama – the whole thing is totally over the top. I remember watching this movie for the first time when I was pretty young – 11 or 12 years old – and recognizing for the first time the subtle nuance of scoring for film – reoccurring themes, music that describes character and emotion. The expertise and intricacy of the score still blows me away, even more so than the film, every time I hear it it’s like a punch in the guts. […] I particularly love this scene where Judy is at the Hotel Empire, writing a letter to Scottie that exposes the dark truth of her double life. The music is super melodramatic and surges furiously, and Kim Novak looks like a total babe in this weird green lighting from the neon hotel sign and all the parts of the story suddenly click together. It is momentous.
“I don’t think I really understood how cinema could be art before I saw this film, I remember a lightbulb going off in my head as I watched. I’ve always been more aural than visual and the score really sealed the deal. Every time I re-watch or re-listen to this, it unfolds differently and I discover new ways in which it is brilliant. The genius of it hurts me physically, I ache inside because it is so unbelievably good.
“When I grow old enough to retire from club life and move to the countryside to train horses and score movies, this soundtrack will remain the thing that planted the seed for that dream. Seriously though? The darkness, the melodrama, the raw emotional energy of this work is outstanding. I can’t go that far with my own music because it would be absurd on a dance floor, but the intention and purity of expression really left a lasting impression.”
Para One picks: Katsuhiro Otomo – Akira (1988)
“Akira is a post-apocalyptic Japanese anime that depicts a group of teenagers getting involved in military secret experiments. The soundtrack was composed by a Japanese collective named Geinoh Yamashirogumi, founded by Tsutomu Ohashi. What impresses me is that they composed the music without having seen the film, based on plot elements and the names of the characters. The music is a mix of different traditional styles (Indonesian Gamelan, Japanese Taiko, african chants, cutting edge sound design and synthesizers) but it doesn’t sound like world music at all. It’s the sound of the future. I discovered it as a kid and was instantly obsessed with it: the anime, the manga, and the music. It’s still a reference for me to this day.
“My favorite scene is the first motorbike chase on the speedway. Futuristic Neo-Tokyo skylines, hologram ads, stylish animated road lightings and cool kids on fast bikes: perfection! And the Kaneda theme that plays along is one of my favorite tracks ever. I’m currently working on the music for my first feature film, that I’m writing and planning to direct next year. This score is one of the main references I had in mind when I started this project.”
Guillaume Berg picks: Godfrey Reggio – Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance (1982)
“This is really gonna look like a “student in art school” pick but I actually discovered this movie when I was in an art school. Koyaanisqatsi : Life out of balance is the first movie of the Quatsi trilogy presented by Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Godfrey Reggio, with a soundtrack from Philip Glass. It’s an experimental movie without narration, described as “an experience, a fusion of images and sound” from what I remember. It’s pretty much about the effect man has on landscape and the environment. The editing and photography are amazing, as the soundtrack Philip Glass made. At the beginning of the movie, it’s mostly slow motion and time lapse of virgin landscapes and the music is really mellow. At some point, the editing goes faster, it’s really cut, and the music goes with it, using fast arpeggio etc. The music really matches with the images and evolves through the whole movie with the editing and the topics.
“When I watched this for the first time, I was studying art, with a focus on photography, and I was out every night, attending a math rock or hardcore show before eventually getting into rap music and going at raves or techno clubs during the weekend. At some point, I realized that math rock, techno, rap or Philip Glass’s music were just all the same. They were all repetitive music. I guess this movie was the missing link that connected everything together in my mind, from images to music. And it opens a door to a new world I wasn’t aware of…”
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