Music Like Acting: Classical Soundtracks Part Two

There are people in the world who breathe not only air but music too. What do they look like and what role do wonderful melodies play for them? Continuing the exploration of classical soundtracks, BFJ provides the second trio of films in which protagonists were directly connected with this high art. We sure they haven’t left you indifferent anyway- and it’s not only because of the music.


1. The Silence of the Lambs, 1991 by Jonathan Demme

Hannibal Lecter is one of the most terrifying characters due to his own “religion”. The protagonist of The Silence of the Lambs can not be interpreted rationally and unilaterally because of his charm and intelligence. This man is able to enjoy arts. Such as listening classics for a while or drawing impressive picture only from memory. But the horrible truth about this person is that he can and wants to kill for his own purpose, and does this in a specific and artistic manner. Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach – isn’t this the perfect soundtrack for a beautiful death? Those who have watched the film will definitely say it is (do you also remember the dual meaning of Bach in previously mentioned “The Clockwork Orange?”). On closer inspection, the composer who lived and worked in Middle Ages – time of religion, rigor and cruelty – is a great way to perform the two sides of the coin e.g. the divine service and the Inquisition.

Eventually, music (as well as education, civility etc.) in “The Silence of the Lambs” is one of the instruments that helps to redefine the character, because there is no good without bad as there are no killers without victims.


2. The Pianist, 2002 by Roman Polanski

The Pianist is an example of survival through art. With the dominance of Frederic Chopin in the soundtrack and mind of piano player, the film simply shows the power of the human being and what are able to do to stay alive. Everything starts when Wladyslaw Szpilman plays Nocturne in C Minor, under the sound of approaching bombs, continues in the main character’s mind and his performance for only one listener who is, furthermore, an enemy,and finishes at a note same as beginning – the radio play. Music as impartial member of events and history: it’s constantly here and for most of the people – ruthless and unnecessary observer – but not for but not for Adrien Brody’s character. The Pianist’s ideas can be interpreted as well-known and trivial ones, though the fact of this historically based story makes it valuable. And finally, what is it to be human if not to be a sufficiently educated, spiritual and generous person?

3. The Piano Teacher, 2001 by Michael Haneke

At first glance one can see the role of Piano Sonata in A Major by Schubert in The Piano Teacher as a secondary one. But this background is a canvas on which all the flaws become clearly visible. Art has no boundaries: it is perfectly suited to ideals and horrors as well as sick people, as in Erika’s case. Music along with oeuvre can hide the pathology of its creator, brighten up the loneliness. Refined, musical Vienna is a screen in the city of refinement and flair hides the truth which is difficult to admit even to oneself and where is incredibly difficult to survive. And in such a story romantic Schubert simply shows how far from the reality is our sentimentalize view of the world and normal and how it, finally, hurts.

The Piano Teacher (2001) by Michael Haneke

Ekaterina Petrakova
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Music Like Acting: Classical Soundtracks Part Two

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