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Perspectives: The Role of Film Soundtracks

From the rousing horns of Indiana Jones, to the jukebox pop of Scorcese and Tarantino’s flicks, or the Wagnerian swagger of Apocalypse Now – there’s no denying film soundtracks are an integral part of the cinema experience. But what makes a great soundtrack? What are they there to do? The Red Curtain met with three doyens of different realms of cinema to get to the heart of what makes a great soundtrack.

Chris Fujiwara assumed the reigns as Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year, and was hailed as bringing the once-ailing Festival back into ruddy good health. He reinstated the glitz and glamour through red carpet events, the pomp and circumstance with the re-introduction of the Michael Powell Award, and, most crucially, he over-saw the delivery of a diverse, acclaimed programme of international films. He’s also editor of the respected film criticism website Undercurrent, and has previously taught and lectured on film at Institutions in both Japan and the United States.
Jonathan Melville runs the online website Reel Scotland, lauded for delivering independent, dedicated coverage of Scotland’s film and TV industry. He also writes the film reviews for Edinburgh Evening News, and is celebrated as something of a social media guru. He’s almost disproportionately fond of film composer John Barry (he of the Bond soundtracks) – or rather would be, were it not for the fact that Jonathan is merely speaking the truth in his celebration of Barry as one of the greatest things to ever happen to film scores.
Shaun Davey is an Irish composer whose work has been heralded for combining popular appeal with genuine cultural significance. He’s worked for film, theatre, and television. Most recently he composed the score for the Romanian production of Gulliver’s Travels, which premiered to rave reviews at the Edinburgh International Festival. His film score work includes the jaunty, traditionally inflected sound-track for the cult comedy Waking Ned. He claims he’s not yet produced a brilliant score to date, but those who appraise his work beg to differ.



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