Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Alexandre Desplat’

ALEXANDRE DESPLAT: EN FRANÇAIS – PART THREE

May 26, 2020 1 comment

Over the past decade or so, Alexandre Desplat has cemented his status amongst the world’s most respected film composers with a series of scores for major studio films in the United States. He has been nominated for eleven Academy Awards – for The Queen (2006), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), The King’s Speech (2010), Argo (2012), Philomena (2013), The Imitation Game (2014), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), The Shape of Water (2017), Isle of Dogs (2018), and Little Women (2019) – winning twice. However, much of his early work in his native France remains relatively unknown to wider audiences – something this article intends to rectify!

In this third installment of Alexandre Desplat: En Français, we take a look at five scores Desplat wrote during the first half of the 2000s, just as he was starting to make in-roads into the international film music scene. Read more…

ALEXANDRE DESPLAT: EN FRANÇAIS – PART TWO

April 17, 2020 Leave a comment

Over the past decade or so, Alexandre Desplat has cemented his status amongst the world’s most respected film composers with a series of scores for major studio films in the United States. He has been nominated for eleven Academy Awards – for The Queen (2006), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), The King’s Speech (2010), Argo (2012), Philomena (2013), The Imitation Game (2014), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), The Shape of Water (2017), Isle of Dogs (2018), and Little Women (2019) – winning twice. However, much of his early work in his native France remains relatively unknown to wider audiences – something this article intends to rectify!

In this second installment of Alexandre Desplat: En Français, we take a look at seven scores Desplat wrote during the second half of the 1990s, immediately prior to his international breakthrough – The Luzhin Defence, from September 2000. Read more…

ALEXANDRE DESPLAT: EN FRANÇAIS – PART ONE

February 11, 2020 Leave a comment

Over the past decade or so, Alexandre Desplat has cemented his status amongst the world’s most respected film composers with a series of scores for major studio films in the United States. He has been nominated for eleven Academy Awards – for The Queen (2006), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), The King’s Speech (2010), Argo (2012), Philomena (2013), The Imitation Game (2014), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), The Shape of Water (2017), Isle of Dogs (2018), and Little Women (2019) – winning twice. However, much of his early work in his native France remains relatively unknown to wider audiences – something this article intends to rectify!

In this first installment of Alexandre Desplat: En Français, we take a look at six of the first scores he wrote during the earliest part of his career in the early 1990s, beginning with his very first collaboration with one of his most frequent directors, Jacques Audiard. Read more…

LITTLE WOMEN – Alexandre Desplat

December 31, 2019 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is the latest big screen adaptation of the classic 1868 American novel by Louisa May Alcott. The story follows the March sisters – headstrong and mercurial Jo, willful and artistic Amy, maternal and meek Meg, creative but sickly Beth – as they come of age in post-civil war Massachusetts. The narrative deals with numerous issues of the day, including the effects of ‘genteel poverty,’ the fallout of the war, sibling rivalries, the entrenched class system, and of course romance and love, the latter of which usually revolves around Laurie, the handsome grandson of the March’s wealthy neighbor. What’s interesting about this version of the story is that Gerwig, acknowledging the social mores of the 2000s, has given her adapted screenplay a healthy dose of modern feminism, which touches on contemporary issues involving women’s suffrage, equal pay for equal work, and bucking the period convention that a woman was not complete without a husband. The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlan as the four sisters, Timothée Chalamet as Laurie, Laura Dern as their ever-loving Marmee, and Meryl Streep as the cantankerous Aunt March, and is a sumptuous visual feast that looks likely to be a major player at the 2019 Academy Awards. Read more…

ISLE OF DOGS – Alexandre Desplat

March 27, 2018 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Isle of Dogs is the latest film from the quirky hipster director Wes Anderson, and sees him returning to the world of animation for the second time, after Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009. Of all the ‘mainstream’ directors working today, Anderson is one of the only ones who regularly switches between mediums like this – Robert Zemeckis dabbled in animation with things like The Polar Express and Beowulf, and Steven Spielberg had a go with The Adventures of Tintin, but those were exercises in motion capture which still used real actors as reference. Anderson’s animated films are more traditional, featuring stop-motion puppets and models and actors doing voices. It’s a typically idiosyncratic effort from the undisputed king of these things; plot-wise, the film is set in the near-future in Japan, and follows the adventures of a young boy named Atari who embarks on a daring mission to rescue his dog, Spots, from a trash-filled island, after the entire canine population of the city are banished there by a corrupt mayor in the aftermath of an outbreak of ‘dog flu’. Read more…

THE SHAPE OF WATER – Alexandre Desplat

December 1, 2017 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Shape of Water is a science fiction fairy tale written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, starring Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Doug Jones. It’s an odd mishmash of a film – it’s one part romantic drama, one part monster movie, one part spy thriller, and it explores additional themes that range from one character’s closeted homosexuality to another’s love of classic Hollywood musicals – but somehow it all works beautifully. Hawkins plays Elisa, a shy mute woman who works as a cleaner on the night shift at a military research facility in the 1960s. One night Elisa meets a mysterious but highly intelligent amphibious humanoid creature (Jones) that has been captured in a remote part of the Amazon and brought to the facility for study by the ruthless Colonel Strickland (Shannon). Unexpectedly, Elisa and the Amphibious Man meet and begin to bond, and form the beginnings of an almost romantic relationship; however, when she hears of the government’s plans to kill and dissect the Amphibious Man to study it’s biology, Elisa vows to save him, and with the help of her sassy co-worker Zelda (Spencer) and her next door neighbor Giles (Jenkins), comes up with a plan to break him out. Read more…

SUBURBICON – Alexandre Desplat

November 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The idea of taking a peek behind the white picket fences of American society is not a new one, but few have taken it as far as director George Clooney in his new film, Suburbicon. It’s a highly stylized, bizarrely comical drama set in the 1950s in a planned community, the epitome of white middle class utopia, a fantasy of manicured lawns and pristine shopping malls. However, things start to change in Suburbicon when a quiet African-American family moves in; despite them doing literally nothing to provoke any sort of reaction, the town erupts into a frenzy of racially-driven anger and violence. Against this backdrop, the story of Gardner Lodge unfolds – to the world, he is a mild-mannered middle class husband and father, but in private his life is falling apart in an increasingly nightmarish spiral of betrayal and murder. The film stars Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac, and was co-written by Clooney and Grant Heslov with Joel and Ethan Coen. Despite this star lineup, the film was roundly panned by critics, who couldn’t fathom its uneven tone, heavy handedness, and odd mix of genres. Read more…

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS – Alexandre Desplat

July 28, 2017 7 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When French director Luc Besson debuted his film The Fifth Element in 1997, it was hailed as a masterpiece of European science fiction, a visual feast for the senses. What people didn’t realize at the time was that, as good as The Fifth Element was, Besson was actually making that film because cinematic technology was not yet sophisticated enough for him to make what was his true passion project: a big screen adaptation of the French-language comic book series Valérian et Laureline, which Besson had grown up reading. Although most people outside of France will not have heard of it, Valérian et Laureline is actually very influential, and many commentators knowledgeable about the subject have noted that the original Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, and Independence Day all contain visual and conceptual similarities to the comic, which pre-dates all of them. In hindsight, it is clear that The Fifth Element was Besson’s ‘dry run’ for this film, as it too shares ideas and design elements with Valérian. Read more…

Best Scores of 2016 – Western Europe

December 30, 2016 1 comment

The second installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world concentrates on music from films from Western Europe – in this instance, France, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands (Spain & Portugal, and the UK will get their own pages later!). The film music covered in this installment includes several outstanding dramatic works, animated films, fantasy action adventures, and more! Read more…

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS – Alexandre Desplat

August 30, 2016 5 comments

thelightbetweenoceansOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Light Between Oceans is a romantic drama set in Australia in the 1920s. Based on the novel by M. L. Stedman and directed by Derek Cianfrance, it stars Michael Fassbender as Tom Sherborne, a veteran of World War I, now working as a lighthouse keeper off the western coast of the country with his wife, Isabel (Alicia Vikander). One day, Tom rescues a baby girl, who he finds washed up in a rowboat on the rocks near his home; assuming she is the only survivor of a shipwreck, Tom and Isabel decide to informally adopt the baby – whom they name Lucy – as their own. However, years later, when they return to the Australian mainland for a brief time, the once-happy family discovers that their decision to keep Lucy on that fateful day may result in terrible repercussions for all. The film also stars Rachel Weisz and Bryan Brown, and has been the recipient of a great deal of critical acclaim in the period leading up to its release. Read more…

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS – Alexandre Desplat

July 29, 2016 3 comments

secretlifeofpetsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Secret Life of Pets is the latest animated film from Illumination Entertainment, the successful studio behind the smash hits Despicable Me and Minions. Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, it follows the escapades of Max, a terrier who lives a life of luxury in an upscale New York tenement building with his owner. However, Max’s perfect life is spoiled when his owner adopts a new dog: Duke, a large and accident prone mongrel mutt who quickly makes Max’s life a misery. Before long, Max and Duke are involved in all manner of escapades, including a trip to the pound, a jailbreak masterminded by a streetwise bunny named Snowball, and a devilish plan to get revenge on the former owners of the city’s abandoned animals. The film features the voice talents of Louis CK, Eric Stonestreet, and Kevin Hart, among others, and has a score from an unlikely source: Oscar-winning French composer Alexandre Desplat. Read more…

Best Scores of 2015 – Europe

January 9, 2016 6 comments

The third installment in my series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world concentrates on music from films from mainland Europe. I know this is a very ‘broad brush’ description, but there are a number of countries this year where there are just one or two standout works which couldn’t justify an entire article to themselves, so I decided to present you with this bumper crop from across the entire continent instead! The scope is quite wide-ranging, and includes everything from French documentaries to Polish serial killer thrillers, Russian adventure movies, and Greek romantic dramas, by written Oscar-winners and exciting newcomers alike. Read more…

THE DANISH GIRL – Alexandre Desplat

December 16, 2015 Leave a comment

danishgirlOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Gender identity issues have been a major social topic in 2015, encompassing everything from Caitlin Jenner to the acclaimed TV series Transparent, so it is perhaps unsurprising that a film like The Danish Girl should be released this year. Directed by Oscar-winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), it looks at the life of Einar Wegener, a young Danish man living in Copenhagen in the 1920s, who became the first ever recipient of male-to-female sex reassignment surgery. Lead actor Eddie Redmayne is heavily tipped for a second consecutive Academy Award for his performance as Einar and his alter ego, Lili, and he is ably supported by Alicia Vikander as his wife, Gerda. Also receiving a great deal of critical acclaim has been the score, written by French composer Alexandre Desplat, who has already received Golden Globe and Satellite Award nominations for his work. This is the fifth and final Desplat score of 2015, whose output in general has been disappointing compared to his usual stellar standards: Suffragette came and went without much fanfare, Everything Will Be Fine was barely released in the United States, and neither Il Racconto dei Racconti nor Une Histoire de Fou have been released outside their native countries at all. Read more…

SUFFRAGETTE – Alexandre Desplat

October 16, 2015 1 comment

suffragetteOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Women in the United Kingdom did not receive the right to vote until 1928. The issue of universal suffrage had been a parliamentary hot potato since at least 1872, and had dominated the political lives of several of the country’s leaders at the time, most notably King George V, and prime ministers David Lloyd George and Herbert Henry Asquith, all of whom were vehemently opposed to it. Things came to a head following the formation of the influential Women’s Social and Political Union, which had shifted sentiments in favor of women’s suffrage by 1906, but was equally criticized for its militant and sometimes violent campaign. Most commentators credit two women with changing the minds of British politicians: Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the WSPU (and the British equivalent of Susan B. Anthony), and Emily Davison, who intentionally walked in front of, and was subsequently trampled and killed by, the King’s horse Anmer during the running of the 1913 Epsom Derby horse race. Director Sarah Gavron’s film Suffragette tells the story of the movement from the point of view of the fictional Maud Watts, who joins the WSPU at the height of its influence, and becomes deeply involved in its activities. It stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Meryl Streep as Pankhurst, and is the first real ‘Oscar bait’ film of 2015. Read more…

THE IMITATION GAME – Alexandre Desplat

November 11, 2014 2 comments

imitationgameOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Alan Turing was a British mathematician who was highly influential in the development of computer science and artificial intelligence. During World War II, Turing worked for the British Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, and was responsible for creating ‘Christopher’, an electromechanical machine that cracked the codes of the German Enigma machine, and in turn enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in several crucial battles. Winston Churchill said that Turing made the single biggest contribution to the Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany, and that his work shortened the war in Europe by as many as four years. The Imitation Game is the story of Turing’s life, and follows him through his work in WWII and beyond, where it is revealed that, in addition to unearthing German secrets, Turing had some secrets of his own. The film is directed by Danish director Morten Tyldum, stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, and has an original score by the ever-busy Alexandre Desplat, the fourth of his five scores written in 2014. Read more…