Notes In and On Film

Still underappreciated after all these decades, film music
remains one of those vital aspects of the medium deserving greater
love. Part of the built-in problem with the discipline is the fact
that good film music, by its nature, is something of a beautiful
wallflower, designed to support the image and deflect excessive
attention. But good film music does also call attention to its own
ingenuity and well-placed charms, if only to those with an attuned

The Composers’ Panel discussions at the Film Fest have thus
become a significant nod to the musical piece of the cinema puzzle.
A little equal time is in order. The panelists assembled for this
year’s event reflect the diversified state of the art, including
reformed rock stars and more traditional, versatile composers in
the field.

From the rocker end, distinctive Police drummer Stewart Copeland
has been involved in scoring for screens both big and small since
1983’s Rumblefish, but he’s in town this year as a filmmaker at the
festival, having made the Police documentary Everyone Stares: The
Police Inside and Out. Heart’s Nancy Wilson was part of the Cameron
Crowe debacle Elizabethtown, a film so utterly terrible it’s good
fun to watch. One of its strongest elements, in fact, is the
musical component, one of former rock journalist Crowe’s perennial

If anything, this year’s panel points up the variety of possible
trajectories into the business. Brazilian-born Heitor Pereira is
making a go at scoring in Los Angeles, and provided seductively
exotic textures for Robert Towne’s new film, Ask the Dust (the
festival’s enticing opening-night film—either loved or loathed).
Mychael Danna is currently being toasted for his Capote score, but
has also been a right-hand musical ally for films by respected
directors Mira Nair and Atom Egoyan. Alex Wurman, who scored last
year’s surprise nature-flick hit March of the Penguins, has
previously lent his sonic touch to quirky numbers like Anchorman:
The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
Taken together, this’ll be a rather comprehensive panel of


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