James Horner, genius composer of soundtracks

The boy in the striped pyjamas is set in Berlin in 1942. The protagonist, Bruno (Asa Butterfield), is 8 years old and doesn’t know the meaning of the final solution of the Holocaust. Bruno is not aware of the cruelties that his country, in the midst of the world war, is imposing to the European cities.

All he knows is that his father (David Thewlis), appointed commander of a concert camp, does the job well and they move to the outskirts of the city. But everything changes when Bruno meets Shmul (Jack Scanlon), a Jewish child who lives in a strange existence parallel to the other side of the fence.

James Horner was an American musician specialized in the composition of soundtracks and creator of it in this film. We can say that James had his characteristic watermark from four musical notes, which shape one of the film’s central themes. Horner is also known for having made the soundtracks of Titanic, Avatar, Apollo 13, among many.

If you haven’t seen the movie I recommend it because the composer makes the music reach the viewer to empathize with the scenes. Every moment of the music marks which the message is, it speaks about the innocence of the child, Nazis and  freedom. In addition, there is a link between the music and the film creatively and need it, that is, the music is perfectly integrated into the narrative, thus assuming a bilateral linkage.

In every film there is a main theme “Boys Playing Airplanes”, in this one, we can hear it at first minutes of the film, this theme can be heard through the feature film. Including when we see the two protagonists pouting, implying that it is individual music, emphasizing their innocence. We can also say it’s the late motive of the film.

To have a number of secondary themes and sub-themes of music, we find that there is a sub-theme with the variation of the main theme but without a specific following. Thus, we find two secondary themes; the first appears when the father is reunited with the other commanders and they are looking at an announcement of the concert camps, we can find the other at the burial of the grandmother of the protagonist.About the sound composition, rarely you find scenes with music, dialogues, n atural sounds and artificial sounds at the same time. The artificial sounds are not very reversing in this film since their intention is to give realism, what we can observe is that it plays with sounds’ levels, sharpened and decreasing, as an example, we find it in this scene: 

The composer uses very few elements together, but he uses the silences very well to give more importance to the actions especially when the two children speak. Her intention to give simplicity to music avoid generating frivolities and plays with generating emotions to viewers.

“The history repeats, and I think is very important to talk the all these themes, either and for whoever it is, always when the emotional content it’s real and true.” Said producer David Heyman. 

Link Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8S_snnZlF4


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