News / Arts & Entertainment

Oscar-nominated Score Helps Bring 'Philomena' to Life

Oscar-Nominated Score Helps Bring 'Philomena' to Lifei
X
February 28, 2014 8:34 PM
Most people are familiar with the Academy Awards for Best Actor, Best Director and Best Picture. But the Oscar ceremonies slated for this Sunday will also spotlight other moviemaking arts. To help us understand the artistry that goes into a film’s musical score, VOA’s Adam Phillips interviewed Alexandre Desplat, the famed French composer who received the sixth Oscar Best Score nomination of his career for his work on “Philomena.” The film is based on the true story of Philomena Lee, an elderly Irish woman who as a teen was forced by nuns to give up her three-year-old son for adoption.
Adam Phillips
The name Alexandre Desplat may be relatively unknown to average moviegoers.

But the French film composer, who received the sixth Best Score nomination of his career for his work on Philomena, is well known among Hollywood insiders for providing just the right musical ambiance for a variety of successful films. 

He created memorable and prizewinning musical landscapes for Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The King's Speech, and two blockbuster Harry Potter films.

Philomena is based on the true story of an Irish woman who, as a teen mother, was forced by nuns to give her 3-year-old son up for adoption. She kept the child's existence a secret for 50 years.
French film composer Alexandre Desplat received the sixth Best Score nomination of his career for his work on "Philomena."French film composer Alexandre Desplat received the sixth Best Score nomination of his career for his work on "Philomena."
x
French film composer Alexandre Desplat received the sixth Best Score nomination of his career for his work on "Philomena."
French film composer Alexandre Desplat received the sixth Best Score nomination of his career for his work on "Philomena."
Desplat's challenge was to write music for the film that reflected the title character’s silent longing for her child.

Sound of a Secret

“What is the sound of a secret?” he asked himself. 

In answer, Desplat offered up a memorable three-note theme that reappears throughout the film in various permutations.

“It’s almost like a lullaby that she could have sung to her son," he said. "And this lullaby is haunting her.”   

A mixture of hope and melancholy are reflected in Desplat's score for Philomena scenes in the Irish countryside, which he recalled from his childhood. 

“You’d be inside listening to music, watching this gray weather," he said, "and at the same time the people were so beautifully warm.”

Composer as supporting actor

Desplat’s score conveys excitement and restrained hope when Philomena and Martin, the journalist helping her, travel to America in search of her son.

The composer charged another key scene during their search with bittersweet yearning and nostalgia. That music prepares the audience for the unexpected dramatic twists that unfold during the film’s climax.
 
Desplat draws on his own emotions and life experiences when composing film scores, but says his job is always to serve the director's vision because he is but one player in the complex collaborative mosaic that makes a film come alive.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Graham Nash has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – once for his work with The Hollies and once as part of Crosby, Stills & Nash. The legendary folk-rocker joins "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his latest project, “CSN 2012,” which captured on video recent live performances by Crosby, Stills & Nash.