And on the seventh day, we come full circle.
While Kath Bloom’s ‘Come Here’ signaled the beginning of a romance in Before Sunrise, things are quite different nine years later when Julie Delpy performs her ‘Waltz’ in Before Sunset.
I remember being both excited and scared when I heard Richard Linkater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy had reunited to film a sequel to Before Sunrise. On the one hand, I was dying to know what happened with Jesse and Celine and I relished the thought of spending another 90 minutes with them. On the other, I felt the first film was perfect and when you mess with perfection the only way to go is down.
OK, so I’m breaking the rules again with this pick, or bending them anyway.
Marketa Irglova is listening to a recording in this clip from Once, but it’s a recording of her own music and she does sing along to the tape, so I think it counts.
I had plenty of Once scenes to choose from — the whole movie is made up of scenes that fit my criteria for this week’s theme — but I really had no other choice. For me, this is far and away the best scene in the movie.
When I talk about the use of music in movies, I throw around a lot of names (Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson and Martin Scorsese are the most common) but I often forget to include the Coen Brothers. And that’s a major oversight, because these guys have done great things with music in all their films.
Start with the original scores, all penned by the wonderful Carter Burwell. From the banjo-and-yodel version of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ in Raising Arizona to the pounding bass drums of Fargo‘s Nordic-inspired title song; from Barton Fink‘s edgy violins to that gorgeous and melancholy Miller’s Crossing theme.
Moulin Rouge is one huge heaping mess of a film. At times it feels like a runaway train in danger of flying off the tracks into a fiery pileup. But somehow it keeps its balance and emerges as one of the most memorable films of the 00s.
Most of the credit, in my opinion, belongs to Ewan McGregor. I can’t imagine another actor pulling off the naive innocence and the unabashed romanticism of his Christian, let alone one with a terrific singing voice to match. Nicole Kidman got the Oscar nod for this film, but McGregor was its MVP.
My second foreign-language selection, this time by Brazilian troubador Caetano Veloso. He’s one of those people I feel ashamed for not knowing more about considering Wikipedia has references calling him “one of the most respected and prolific international pop stars” and the “Bob Dylan of Brazil.”
His voice is better than Dylan’s, that’s for sure. In fact, it’s so achingly lovely that I was shocked to read he is more known for his songwriting than his singing. That said, he did record an album of English-language covers a couple years back.
But enough about the singer; on to the film.
I mentioned this scene in my recent review of She & Him’s debut album, Volume One. It’s the moment I first learned that Zooey Deschanel has a wonderful singing voice. It’s also a very sweet scene in a very sweet film.
Today begins another theme week. The next seven songs, starting today and ending this Saturday, will come from scenes in movies.
I’ve given myself two rules: 1) the songs must be performed by characters within the scene, not played on the soundtrack; and 2) the songs must begin and end during the scene.
That said, I’ve broken both of those rules with this first selection. The song is not performed by the characters, but played on a turntable while they listen, and the song fades out at the mid point. But I don’t care, because this is one of my favorite scenes in any movie, ever, and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to include it.