'"A few times in my life I have experienced moments of crystal clearness in which, for a few brief seconds, silence drowns out the noise and I can feel instead of thinking. And everything seems very defined and, the world clear and fresh, as if everything had just been born. It is impossible to make those moments last. I cling to them; Then they vanish, like everything. I have lived my life in those moments, they transport me back to the present, and then I realize that everything is just as it has to be "- George.
A Single Man is the film adaptation of the homonymous novel written by Christopher Isherwood in 1964. Filmed in 2009, the film marked the directorial debut of famed fashion designer Tom Ford, which featured the inestimable talent of Colin Firth, the chameleon Julianne Moore and the promising Matthew Goode to weave an old-fashioned love story, an existential drama and an elegy to the heart.
George, the protagonist of the film, is a respected English university professor who faces the apathy of a life beyond love, condemned to loneliness and nostalgia after the death of his partner. During the course of a single day, George faces the impregnable pendulum of his emotions, the uneasiness and hope, the nerve and the pause, the promise of a tomorrow and the conviction of a rotten present in his yesterdays. A story of hurt skin and uncontainable tears.
Unlike in most current productions, the role of music in this film is of pressing importance. It is not a mere pose, a false blush on the pale cheek, an elaborate curl. On the contrary, it acts as an authentic catalyst of emotions, taking on the protagonist's pain and flooding the spectator, submitting him to the proclamation of his ordeal, to his grief. The soundtrack, nominated for a Golden Globe as the best original soundtrack in 2009, is an orgy of twisted violins, stuttering cellos with swollen eyes, pianos exacerbated in their languid laziness, soliloquies, crescendos and longing melodies. And it could not be otherwise, signed as it is by two great masters of musical disconsolation: Shigeru Umebayashi and Abel Korzeniowski.
The first is one of the most lucid and hopelessly inflamed musicians that I remember, an everlasting composer of the great dramas of Asian cinema. From his feverish palette have sprung the exquisitely colored soundtracks of films like In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000) or House of Flying Daggers (Zhang Yimou, 2004). His presence in this book is discreet, just signing four of the nineteen songs that make up the soundtrack, and yet his wild impetus, the grief with which he dresses his melodies is the leitmotiv of the work. The second is one of the most promising figures in the international music scene. Of exquisite invoice, the Polish composer has shown an admirable love for home theater and cinema,
Out of this struggle between colossi of harmony is born the soundtrack of A Single Man, one of the most disturbing, miserable, tremulous and dismally beautiful albums that I know.
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