I edit essays almost every day. One sparkled my eyes with its brilliance. Later I realised that the author plagiarised it from John Green’s Looking for Alaska. Oh well.
I guess I can’t be expected to have read every novel ever written. My silver lining lies in the revelation that I’m good at spotting great writing 😉
In my quest to produce notes for Macbeth, I watched Scarface. A favourite of mine. Macbeth and Scarface would make a fabulous comparative study.
This time I noticed how the camera work underlined the message.
When Elvira snorts cocaine, the camera moves back and zooms in at once, mimicking the mind-altering effects of the drug.
When Tony gets killed, the camera moves from his lifeless body to the steely assassin and onto the fountain encircled with the neon sign “the world is yours“. The assassin obviously becomes the new Tony and the world is now his. The camera bows down to the winner by showing him from below, then it slowly follows the assassin as he descends down the stairs and distances to show what’s ahead of him. Endless dead bodies. His path will inevitably bring him to the bottom of the stairs, to the midst of the carnage and the cycle will repeat.
Music profoundly changes our emotions. Sound has the potential to turn our feelings inside out.
In September, I committed to bringing my mother to the theatre. Local theatres do a lot of film screenings, I found with disappointment. Among them, I spotted The Graduate. I don’t understand why, but I love the film.
The events and characters are grim. The atmosphere is anxious. The ending is certainly filled with angst. But that’s not the aftertaste it leaves.
I rooted out The Graduate in college. Third year of medicine, a year dedicated to learning ginormous amounts of information, weighed heavy on my mind.
It was the weekend. Alone, I had nothing to do other than study and the mood dwindled. Somehow The Graduate lifted me out of melancholy.
I reckon it is down to the soundtrack. Amazing.
In an essay filled to the brim with reference to science, a music cognition scientist (yes, that’s a thing), says:
We never just hear music. Our experience of it is saturated in cultural expectations, personal memory and the need to move.
The revelation reminded me of something a friend said. She shocked me with a simple truth: you start having sex long before you enter the bedroom.
So yeah, our perception runs away from reality at the first chance it gets. I am sitting here imagining: in a film about Macbeth, what soundtrack would I choose? And when you think about it like that, you see that music manipulates emotion like nothing else.