Photos: Recap of Scoring the Moon- A Master Class with Air
It was an eventful morning in the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr ballroom
where ADFF's free Special Events series of panels, conversations
and master classes have been underway since Friday.
This morning acclaimed Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako sat down to talk about how
working with non-professional actors leads to improvisation and a
rewriting of the script, and this afternoon the French Embassy in
Abu Dhabi co-presented an event with the French music duo Air, who spoke at length about the process of
scoring the color restoration of Georges Méliès's 1902 masterpiece
A Trip to the Moon, which makes its first appearance in
the Middle East at ADFF this afternoon as well.
Moon's music, said Air's Nicolas Godin and
Jean-Benoît Dunckel, didn't come until the very end of the epic
eight-year restoration project, only one month before it made its
world premiere at Cannes. The offer to score the landmark project
was "like a gift from God," said Godin. "We were searching for
something new, a new concept," said Dunckel. "If you're a
musician," Godin went on, "you have sound in your head all day -
what are you going to do with it when you don't want to make a new
album? So when someone comes and asks, 'Do you want to record the
soundtrack to A Trip to the Moon?'" you think, 'This is
exactly what we need right now. Thank God.'"
For the duo, the history behind Méliès's creation of the film
was incredibly inspiring. "He was creating a movie when there was
no movie business," said Dunckel. "He did everything by himself,
and there was no one to tell him anything. It's really moving to
see this man doing this kind of art."
Like Méliès, they had no one telling them what to do. Because
the director had not specified the type of score that should
accompany his film in any more detail than "it should be
fashionable," they could apply their own modern musical
sensibilities to it. Some audience members at the Cannes premiere,
Dunckel said, thought Air's anachronistic music hurt the film,
which in the silent-film era would have been accompanied by live
piano. "I don't see the point of doing something old when this is
new," said Dunckel. "It's a new piece of art."
Godin found a distinct energy inhabiting the work, describing
the colors as "very psychedelic, like the cover of Sgt.
Pepper's" and "like swinging London in the '60s." He said he
saw a sort of freshness in the actors' faces that transcended the
century of time that lay between them. "It was a very spiritual
connection with people in the past. This energy that you have when
you're young is there all the time. For a movie so old we've made
some of the freshest music we've ever made. It was that energy that
was so important to us."
ADFF's freeSpecial Eventscontinue
tomorrow withBeyond Hollywood and Bollywood: The Future
of Independent Cinema in the Regionin the
morning andFrom Script to Screen: Writing and
Directingin the afternoon.