Alexandre Desplat Says "Trance-like" Score For 'Tree Of Life' Will Use Cues From Ligeti & Berlioz

by Kevin Jagernauth
December 13, 2010 4:10 AM
5 Comments
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Also Scoring Chris Weitz's 'The Gardener'


So we are just over five months away from the likely Cannes debut and theatrical release of Terrence Malick's "The Tree Of Life." The film, pretty much the closest thing the arthouse world will ever get to a blockbuster, stars heavyweights Brad Pitt and Sean Penn in a decades-spanning tale about a father/son relationship and also the mysteries of the universe. The trailer for the film is currently in theaters playing in front of "Black Swan" but don't expect it go online anytime soon as Fox Searchlight plans to piecemeal stills and info about the project in the run-up to the release. So with that in mind, we'll take whatever info we can and the latest bit of news comes from the film's composer, Playlist favorite Alexandre Desplat.

Speaking to Variety, Desplat talked a little bit about this work on the film revealing, that he "had to work largely without the benefit of images" and that the soundtrack will use musical cues from 19th century romantic composer Hector Berlioz and modern composer György Ligeti. Ligeti should be a name familiar to film fans as his work was used extensively in Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," "The Shining," "Eyes Wide Shut" and more recently in Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island." Ligeti's pieces are often noted for their atonal quality and minimalism.

Describing the forthcoming score as "orchestral, meditative and trance-like" Desplat reveals that Malick's aim is to integrate all the musical works seamlessly.

"(Malick) always told me that the music should be like a river flowing through the film," said Desplat, "and that's what I tried to achieve -- something that flows and never stops, very alive and fluid. He just wants you to create something that maybe he hasn't thought about."

It certainly seems as if Malick is giving the composer a wide latitude within which to work and we're excited to see what he comes up with. To give you an idea of just how long this film has been gestating, Desplat began working on "The Tree Of Life" way back in 2007. Those who have managed to catch the film early have describe it glowingly as "cinema-changing" and while that remains to be seen, we seriously cannot wait.

And oh yeah, before we forget, Desplat also let it slip that he'll be scoring Chris Weitz's "neo-realist" drama, "The Gardener." Starring Demian Birchir (Fidel Castro in "Che") the film will follow the woes of a undocumented illegal worker as the tries to make a living for his family life in the titular job. The film shot this summer, and will likely hit the festival circuit next year.


György Ligeti "Lux Aeterna"

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5 Comments

  • Ian | December 14, 2010 10:12 AMReply

    What if Malick's just a 'visitor' to this planet, and this work is his final gesture at a message?

  • Todd | December 14, 2010 1:53 AMReply

    This is the exact same musical advice Malick gave Hans Zimmer regarding the music for "The Thin Red Line" - like a river flowing through the film.

  • johan | December 13, 2010 7:57 AMReply

    There's an extra "r" in Demián Bichir's name.

  • starway2001 | December 13, 2010 7:08 AMReply

    Oh boy. How many joints will one have to smoke in order to get through this one?

  • Justin | December 13, 2010 4:48 AMReply

    Will his sampling make the movie ineligible for the Best Original Score Oscar?

    According to The Wrap, the Academy takes issue with scores "'diluted by the use of tracked themes or other pre-existing music' or 'diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs.'"

    Black Swan may be disqualified because Mansell used parts of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake."

    http://www.thewrap.com/awards/column-post/trouble-ahead-black-swan-true-grit-music-22992

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