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Jacques Audiard

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Album Review

As far as most American filmgoers are concerned, Alexandre Desplat came out of the blue with his Golden Globe-nominated score to Girl with a Pearl Earring in 2003 and right onto the Hollywood A-list of composers who do the music for as many as three or four big-budget movies a year (in 2005, The Upside of Anger, Hostage, Casanova, and Syriana; in 2006, Firewall, The Queen, and The Painted Veil). But Desplat had a résumé of more than 50 European features before he started turning up regularly in U.S. multiplexes, and fans of film music can begin to catch up with this album, containing music for four films directed by Jacques Audiard that use Desplat's cues. That's Desplat's entire output: Regarde les Hommes Tomber (See How They Fall; 1994), Un Héros Très Discret (A Self-Made Hero, 1996), Sur Mes Lèvres (Read My Lips, 2002), and De Battre Mon Coeur S'est Arrêté (The Beat That My Heart Skipped, 2005). The music shows a development from the inventive and playful See How They Fall, in which Desplat (who says this "is the movie in which I started to show myself and take some risks") must make do with a relatively small orchestra and does some interesting things with accordion, to A Self-Made Hero, in which the pizzicato strings mix with acoustic guitar, and on to the more formal later films, particularly the lengthy suite from The Beat That My Heart Skipped, a remake of James Toback's Fingers about a young man trying to decide between a career as a concert pianist and a life of crime. The last score, composed the same year as some of Desplat's Hollywood features, is closer to a typical mainstream effort, though still with its striking passages.


Born: 23 August 1961 in Paris, France

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

French composer Alexandre Desplat is the son of a Greek mother and a French father who met in the U.S. while both were attending the University of California at Berkeley, married in San Francisco, and settled in France. He began studying the piano at age five, later switching to trumpet and then flute. Fascinated by both music and film, he decided to pursue a career as a composer of movie scores. Beginning with Ki Lo Sa? in 1985, his scores for television and film totaled 100 by 2007. In these...
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Jacques Audiard, Alexandre Desplat
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