Monday, March 23, 2009

Henyrk Górecki -- Heartbreaker

I've recently discovered the melancholic music of composer Henyrk Górecki. I feel like I've heard this music before, possibly in movie trailers. I'm reminded slightly of Richard Einhorn's "Voices of Light," the accompaniment to Carl Dreyer's silent film "The Passion of Joan of Arc," but certainly Górecki's music has a unique timbre all its own.


Jay said...

((Give the song a chance, it really starts to build up an emotional groundswell))

SuiginChou said...

It's not a bad song, but it's so powerful that I don't think most film scenes could make proper use of it: they'd insert it into a tragic scene and the song would completely drown out everything else going on in the viewer's consciousness. It's the sort of song that I think would really be best saved for a long, silent, drawn-out shot like:
- a ship sailing away, with the man on the deck and the woman on the shore, and the camera cuts between them and only them
- same as above, remove genders, change "deck" to "spaceship cabin" and "shore" to "planet/moon/asteroid surface"

I think most filmmakers would be too tempted to use the song in a montage in a war/terrorism scene, cutting between many different people either who we had been following up through this point in the film or perhaps even total strangers who the filmmaker thinks exemplify the citizens of the town that's about to be or already has been destroyed. But I don't think that's an appropriate use for the song at all. The only montage I could see this song working for -- and again, it's too powerful for dialogue to accompany, so I have second thoughts even about this proposition -- would be if, for example, towards the end of the film the very main character got stabbed in the back (lit.), shot in the head or chest, and at the moment of impact (presumably shown on camera), all previous sounds -- conversation, another musical track, everything -- cut to silence for half a second to one second. Then, the camera goes to the main character's gently surprised, concerned face. Then, before he falls -- before he even so much as has a chance to die -- the song could start up as we see a montage of memories (as Hollywood is wont to do), of the main character as a child, as a teen, as a young adult, etc., of his first bike ride, first kiss, first child -- and right as the song ends, the last of the memories fades away to white and the sound, once again, cuts to pure silence for half a second or so, and then -- THUD! We're back in the hospital room or warfield or whatever, we hear the conversations or the other background noises that had been going on, etc., and the person is shown ragdoll crashing to the ground, dead. And then all hell breaks loose. (Another option would be for this to occur somewhere in the middle of the song, and for the song to pick up as the people around our protagonist react to his having just been killed, but I prefer the first way.)