Posts Tagged ‘12 Years a Slave’

Coral and I hunkered down last night to watch the film 12 Years a Slave. The Academy Award winning film based on the true-life tales of Solomon Northup is an emotional and heartbreaking story.

There are many harsh, beautiful, and extreme scenes throughout the film.  One part of the movie that stood out for both my wife and I was the soundtrack.

The film uses sound to tremendous effect in the presentation, mood, and place of the film.  Solomon Northup is a remarkable fiddle player and that style of 1840s music is threaded throughout the film.  During times of joy, and then corrupted and used during macabre dance parties.

There are scenes that depict traditional slave and gospel songs.

Part of the film use the natural sounds or even drone to build tension.

The original pieces crafted by Hans Zimmer are some of the most devastating.  Listening to the almost industrial noises invoked the madness of slavery and the complete destitution of Solomon and the other characters.  Here is a sample of the way Hans Zimmer creates a soundscape that is maddening and disorientating.

He talks about some of the minimalist aspects of his orchestration at Variety,  “creates a stillness, or a tension through the stillness, using very minimal means,”

He says to Vulture.com, “If you happen to be courageous enough to watch [12 Years a Slave] twice, in a way, your emotional dominoes are already starting to fall when you hear those first few notes.”

There are many reasons why 12 Years a Slave is a celebrated film…for fans of sound, add the soundtrack and foley.

Go with yourself.

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