Why are the pop-based Ivor Novello awards nominating far more interesting film scores than any other awards body? Their three contenders for best original film score, announced last week, were: The First Grader, by Alex Heffes; We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood; and Life in a Day, by Harry Gregson-Williams and the great Matthew Herbert. These are inventive, creative and powerful modern film scores – far more vital, exciting and reflective of what’s going on in film score composition in the UK at the moment than the usual boring nods for, say, Howard Shore and Alexandre Desplat.
Trash got a real treat last week, attending the launch of BFI Southbank’s forthcoming Hitchcock season. The blockbuster event, designed to coincide with the Olympics and the cultural Olympiad, will show all of Hitchcock’s films, but the jewels in the BFI’s crown are surely the nine restored silent films, polished to a new shine and now with several of them given modern music scores. The composers of the new scores were in attendance last week, including Nitin Sawhney (who’s done The Lodger), Soweto Kinch (who gave a live accompaniment on solo sax to a clip of The Ring) and Daniel Patrick Cohen, a precocious young Royal Academy graduate who, at 24, has written a new score for Hitchcock’s first feature film, The Pleasure Garden, made in 1925, when Hitch was also in his mid-20s. It’s a mouthwatering musical prospect — even just seeing brief clips of these restored films, given the new frame of a contemporary music setting, was like discovering that there’s a cool, young, British indie film-maker in town and his name is Alfred Hitchcock.
Surely there must be a film made by a woman somewhere in the world that the Cannes selectors deem good enough to make the official selection? Last year, it seemed progress in this regard had been made when four films by women, including Lynne Ramsay, were picked. Despite another tantalising selection for 2012, Thierry Frémaux has made a backwards step in not finding a single female-directed movie to include, and one can’t help feeling that an important way of looking at the world has been denied exposure on the greatest of film stages. That said, I’m still hopping with excitement at seeing such a promising bunch of films. I’m most looking forward to Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone and Gomorrah-director Matteo Garrone’s Reality, closely followed by Michael Haneke’s Amour and Lee Daniels’s The Paperboy, mainly because John Cusack is in it and he told me last month he thought it was going to be “very dark and quite excellent”.
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