Flipside Movie Emporium Forum Index Flipside Movie Emporium
Discussion Forums Locked & Archived for Browsing
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

music and movies

 
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Flipside Movie Emporium Forum Index -> Movie Talk
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
mfritschel
Cinematographer


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 143
Location: Port Washington, WI

PostPosted: 07.08.2003 12:00 am    Post subject: music and movies Reply with quote

I have always been a person who is very interseted and influenced in media and its relation to society. Spending the majority of my adolescence listening to music and now as I grow older I have been shifting more of my focus towards film. Yet I have always been drawn the to relationship that the two seem to have. I have always felt that music has always played a tremendous role in the medium of film. I am sure many of us can name films were the use of music is very crucial to the film, or where the use of music is negligent or very minimial and yet the film is still very effective. But what purpose does music truly serve, and is it important to the success or failure of a film? Does it allow us to remember the film better, or does it date the film for us?

Of course from the early beginning of film, even dating the use of spoken language the use of music has have been present in film. From scoring movies to balance with the emotions of the characters, to subconsicously aknowledging the audience towards moments of suspense, whether one hears it or not, music is very often used in the film. So is the music there simply for the use of emotional cues that the audience is suppose to be following, or does is serve an even greater purpose? Has this purspose evolved with time or remaine relatively static?

I know for myself personally that some films and movie moments are memorable simply because of the use of a certain song or scoring . From the Star Wars anthem, to the boys of Animal House singing Louie Louie, to Play it Again Sam music provides many defining moments in film beyond its early progression as a tool of emotional cues. Based off this chain of though then how important is the use of music, does it really define films? I would have to say that in certain circumstances it does, for some songs have become so ingrained in our culture that they have become staples of american culure. Who does not know the theme for Star Wars?

Finally, does music in turn date films? For myself such movies as the Terminator and Scarface are just so dated in the 80's because of there use of synthesizers, or those wonderful Brat Pack movies that are dated because of there reliance on songs from that decade. On the other hand, there are movies from the sixties such as the Graduate and GoodFellas that remain timeless in their use of music. I was wondering if this revolves more around my personal preference in music, which is objective as one's choice of films, or does it all have a greater meaning? Does great music make a movie better. Without its score would these movies have the same impact? Would everyone remember Star Wars and the Godfather if they had been scored minimally or not at all?

P.S. I know this is a lot to take in at once, but I was just pretty much brainstorming as I went.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 07.08.2003 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think most people would agree that music plays an integral role in a movie's overall impact, but I would strongly argue that the necessity of a musical score depends on the film's tone. I think dramatic films often are more emotionally jarring without music, because then we have nothing to comfort us or to tell us when to care or how to feel - we must judge for ourselves, and that naturally forms a closer bond with the characters. Horror movies also benefit from a minimal use of music in my opinion, especially when the horror is stark and minimalistic, as in Roman Polanski's "Repulsion" or Michael Haneke's "Funny Games." The movies that most benefit from music are, I think, grand, epic, thrill-ride cinema, such as "Jaws," "Star Wars," "Lawrence of Arabia," or the "Harry Potter" films, all of which use memorable, booming music to great effect. Of course, these are only generalizations - music can pack an extra punch to an already shattering drama (I am reminded of Clint Mansell's music for "Requiem for a Dream") or enhance a sickly dreadful tone in a horror movie (Jocelyn Pook's eerie piano in "Eyes Wide Shut"). So I've been rambling on and contradicting myself, but music in film works best when it drives you over the edge a little bit more, but you don't even notice that it does so.

Poor music can be a severe detractor from a worthy film - I was repulsed by the cheesy string music in "The Perfect Storm" and "Antwone Fisher," two otherwise strong films that assumed the audience was too dim-witted to know when to care. Sometimes old-fashioned music can date a film; sometimes, as in "Citizen Kane" or "The Adventures of Robin Hood," it is still breathtakingly fresh after all these years.

I must say, however, that recently movies have been turning more into music videos - having glitzy images to correspond to cheesy heavy-metal or techno music. "Charlie's Angels" and "The Cell" could be shown on MTV and you'd barely know the difference; music is priceless in the world of cinema, but it should always contribute to the power of the visuals and the story, instead of the film warping itself to correlate to the music.

Matt
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 07.08.2003 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
I must say, however, that recently movies have been turning more into music videos - having glitzy images to correspond to cheesy heavy-metal or techno music... Music is priceless in the world of cinema, but it should always contribute to the power of the visuals and the story, instead of the film warping itself to correlate to the music.


Yes, but aren't some music videos also brilliant works of art? Why is correlating a story to the music automatically an invalid style? Why must cinematic art always revolve around narrative--isn't there room for multiple approaches?

(Of course, I agree that most films made in the style of music videos have been awful. But I believe that style, if applied skillfully, could potentially yield a great film.)

Eric
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 07.08.2003 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're absolutely right - I made a poor generalization. My two favorite music-video directors, Spike Jonze and Mark Romanek, have made worthy films in the past ("Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation" for the former, "One Hour Photo" for the latter), and their sensibilities of corresponding the visuals to the music makes for fresh storytelling. For "Citizen Kane," Bernard Herrmann legendarily finished the score before shooting started so Orson Welles could direct the film according to the music itself. So the style of using a narrative to enhance, allude, or relate to the music is very, very valid; the style I should have described as terrible is when there is no story, only money-making music and images without any validity whatsoever.

Matt
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 07.08.2003 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yet even music and images, devoid of narrative, can function as significant art. Think of Stan Brakhage, Walther Ruttmann, or Godfrey Reggio, three artists who didn't or don't believe that cinema is strictly a narrative form. Like them, I'm unwilling to impose such a limitation on an art form. Some cinema is closer in spirit to Abstract Expressionism--not every painting needs a "story," and neither does every film.

It's true that many narrative films relegate "story" to the backburner, often to emphasize hollow effects and action. (I assume these are the works you are condemning, and of course I'm with you.) However, I don't believe that the relegation itself is inherently bad. The question is whether its replacement has any artistic virtue. Take the recent Winged Migration, a doc that is pretty sparse in terms of actual information. Its lack of scientific substance is hardly a flaw, however, since the makers chose to replace "narrative" with visuals that provide an artistic experience that is profound in its own way.

More mainstream examples might include Austin Powers, Undercover Brother, and Mulholland Dr. In terms of solid story construction, all three are complete failures. But thinking about them in narrative terms utterly misses the point--in each case, the filmmakers were working on artistic wavelengths far removed from story, which is completely valid.

Surely it seems absurd to take Mike Myers to task because Austin Powers doesn't make any sense? Most audiences are willing to make that concession, to acknowledge that narrative doesn't always have to be the end-all of film analysis. However, that hasn't translated into the next step--which is accepting that some cinema can function predominantly as surreal or abstract experiences (sometimes even within the realm of narrative filmmaking).

By the way, Reggio's Qatsi series is an excellent place to begin for viewers interested in more abstract fare. Brakhage is too, if you can locate his stuff. Thankfully, Criterion recently released a DVD compiling 26 of his short works, which any film buff ought to memorize.

Eric
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
blakey
Grip


Joined: 08 Aug 2003
Posts: 1
Location: Tasmania, Australia

PostPosted: 08.08.2003 4:34 am    Post subject: Project for school, about music & movies Reply with quote

Hi, I need to ask you a huge favour, to anyone that wants to help! I am doing a negotiated study on Music, and the relevance and affectiveness of it in films. Can you help @ all, giving me your ideas, and opinions, and why you think music is, or isn't a major part of a movie. I need at least 4 movies to review on their music aswell, so any help would be grately appreciated Exclamation

Thanks Laughing Laughing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Flipside Movie Emporium Forum Index -> Movie Talk All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001-2007 phpBB Group