art films music

Hans Zimmer, the Maestro

I’m a huge fan of the compositions of Hans Zimmer,  the German musician and composer known for his soundtracks for movies such as Gladiator,  The Thin Red Line,  Nolan’s Batman Trilogy, 12 years a slave and Inception.

Zimmer aims for a minimalist sound with grand production.  4-5 chord motifs explored with great dynamism by orchestral players and innovative arrangements. I’m not alone in my admiration for Zimmer as his critically celebrated works have garnered him four Grammy Awards, three Classical BRIT Awards, two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award.

His creative relationship with Christopher Nolan has proved particularly fertile including his work on the Dark Knight Trilogy.  but not even Nolan gave him the free rein he received from legendary auteur-director Terence Malick who played the music on set during the arduous filming of his war epic, The Thin Red Line.  Malick let Zimmer’s score set the tone for each scene,  instructing.

In my opinion, his most successful score is his development of the themes within the Thin Red Line for the psychological thriller Inception.  The movie simply wouldn’t work so well without Zimmer’s score which moves to each beat of the plot and beautifully punctuates the shifts from action to introspection that take places throughout the movie.  The use of an electronically distorted and slowed version of Piaf’s most celebrated song Non, je ne regret rien is a delicious piece of whimsy.

The standout musical works in Inception, for me,  are The Dream is Collapsing” and the closing piece “Time”.  Nolan’s movie is fantastic in my opinion but I can’t imagine it with another score. I’ve often felt that when reviewers write glowingly about some movie scenes they’re actually paying homage to the music choice, for instance the use of Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs in the movie Fearless.

art humour

What taking fire at an easy target says about a journalist

Yesterday I noticed a tweet from RTE’s Miriam O’Callaghan referencing an article in the UK Indepedent about Chris Evan’s recent historic car purchase. Mr. Evans purchased the 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO, one of only 36 built. The car was formerly owned by the actor James Coburn and was driven by Steve McQueen. Evans bought immaculate condition, full service history and association with 2 of the “coolest” hollywood stars of a bygone era. You pays your money and takes your choice, as they say. Most of all though, Evans bought art.

1963 Ferrari 250 GTO
1963 Ferrari 250 GTO

The only fury is my own

I was surprised to read in the Sunday Times today that “Fury has greeted Gottfried Helnwein’s art installation” in Waterford. Just to be completely clear about this Gerry McCarthy’s article stretches the truth til you hear it snap. The article alleges that a piece depicting a young girl has been vandalised. This is entirely correct and the installation has been badly damaged. However, this is where context is conveniently forgotten to portray the mindless vandalism as some act of artistic outrage or social commentary. Obviously, I don’t know what was going through the mind of the person(s) who damaged the painting but two points are salient. The piece was at ground level in a pedestrian area which is frequented by drunken revelers after a night on the sauce. More importantly, the only other piece in the installation at ground level is a canvas of the Nire valley. This clearly provocative piece of photorealistic landscapery has also been slashed, if not destroyed.
I’ve long been a fan of Gottfried Helnwein’s work but Waterford isn’t the hotbed of anarchism Gerry seems to want us to think it is. I suppose it’s a step up from the Lonely Planet’s “seedy port town” moniker. It’s a reimagining of an event with a Yeatsian pretence. …If only we had courage equal to desire… I suspect art was less important than impressing friends with a bit of vandalism.