This film is a documentary made by Rani Khanna about the composer Gabriel Yared and has been put together in part as a diary following the composer in 2005 to various events in several countries, with various film clips of highlights of those events and all interspersed with a number of short interviews with the composer himself. Those clips and conversations give a unique insight into the composer, his musical development and his approach to film scoring.
In successive sections of the film we piece together the composer's background. He grew up in Lebanon in a non-musical family but already at age 4 with aspirations to learn the accordian. He also learned the piano and was a church organist and moved to France. His musical experience took an unexpected but opportunist turn when he entered a song competition in Rio, which resulted in his spending some time in Brazil with a small band playing latin music. Back in France this experience then led to Yared providing orchestration services for many well-known artists suc as Francoise Hardy and Charles Aznevour. He then studied formally at the Paris Conservatoire, and got his first taste of writing film music for Jean-Luc Goddard. Some ballet music he had previously written (based on idea from a work by Debussy) was requested to be used in the film "Betty Blue".
The film then follows his film music career, with "The English Patient" and its relationship to the music of Bach. Winning the Oscar for this film opened doors for Yared in Hollywood, but the double-edged nature of this sword meant he was pigeon-holed as a Romantic Tragedy specialist, and this label persisted through "The Talented Mr Ripley" and "Cold Mountain". The composer is very much against the standard Hollywood practice of hiring a composer at the last minute, and prefers to be involved from the start and has been lucky enough to work with some directors who share that view. Along the course of the film we learn how he finds inspiration in nature and the film ends with clips from a concert of his film music.
The film was given a limited theatrical release in certain locations around the UK during 2007. You may be able to catch a showing still so it is worth checking listing for art house cinemas in your area. The DVD has also now been released, and this method of viewing will prove much more convenient for many people. The DVD is available from Amazon's UK website at the following link: Amazon.co.uk. The DVD is coded as "Region 0" which means that it should be able to be played on any DVD player no matter what part of the world you are in.
To win a copy of this film answer the following question:
Which film scored by Gabriel Yared starred Jude Law and Nicole Kidman?
At mfiles we ran a competition to promote this DVD when it was first released, but the competition has now closed. Two entries were chosen at random from the winning entries who correctly identified the answer as "Cold Mountain" and a copy of the DVD was despatched to the lucky winners.