Cannes: composers climb the stairs to recognition

Often at the bottom of the credits, the composers of film music, in search of recognition, climb the steps of the Cannes Film Festival this Sunday, an appointment of the 7th art which does not reward them unlike the Oscars.

“Let’s bring the music to Cannes. The rest will come by itself”, advance with AFP Patrick Sigwalt, composer and chairman of the board of directors of Sacem (Society of authors, composers and music publishers).

This instance is behind this passage of around thirty composers on the red carpet announced for 6:30 p.m. “This is an opportunity to show that composers are essential in the development of a cinematographic work”, underlines Mr. Sigwalt.

And an award at Cannes, is that on the agenda? “I spoke about it with Pierre Lescure (president of the Festival) and Thierry Frémaux (general delegate) during a recent lunch. It would put an end to an anomaly which has lasted too long, but relations with Cannes are today very positive today”, he adds.

Valentin Hadjadj, a composer who works with the Belgian Lukas Dhont (“Girl”, Golden Camera at Cannes in 2018, “Close” presented this year in competition), is part of the delegation which climbs the steps on Sunday.

“An award for film music at Cannes is a debate that has been going on for a long time. I claim the power of music over film”, explains the musician to AFP.

“Perhaps Cannes, by rewarding music, is afraid to open the door to an evening that would reward everything, which would be just as good, as for the Césars, the Oscars. It would highlight the work of the composer who can sometimes be put aside, even if it happened to me very little”.

Bad experiences exist. “Sometimes a director only keeps a few minutes of a whole score in the end, to put it next to already existing songs, it’s frustrating”had recently exposed to AFP Macha Méril, president of the association awarding “the Michel Legrand Prize”, from the name of the creator of the themes of the “Demoiselles de Rochefort” of which she was the last woman.

Valentin Hadjadj unearthed the rare pearl with Lukas Dhont, whom he met in 2013 when they were both students, during a week-long screenplay workshop organized by Sacem.

“What interests Lukas is not to place an order and to have a finished rendering. What he likes is the creative process, that we exchange ideas when I play songs for him on the keyboard next to the him”, describes the musician.

In “Close”, a character plays the oboe and, faced with the nature of this instrument, Valentin Hadjadj suggested that the idea of ​​breath be put forward. Result, “there are a lot of scenes in the fields, a lot of wind, we have remodeled a whole part”, welcomes the composer.

“But that’s normal. After all, the composer is one of the first to receive a script, to give reader feedback”, he adds.

Coming from the National Conservatory of Lyon, Valentin Hadjadj quickly turned away from “contemporary classical music”, which he considers “sclerotic”, to lend an ear to original film music.

He thus has “rediscovered more accessible orchestral music, via blockbusters like + The Lord of the Rings + or + Matrix + at 15-16 years old”.

“Film is an entry point for contemporary music that makes sense, like that of Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead). I also rediscovered classic works on films by Gray Ou Tarkoski who uses Bach a lot” .

“Valentin arrives with a bit of an academic touch at the start, but he was able to get noticed very quickly by the originality of his scores. He is becoming a composer who counts”greets Patrick Sigwalt.

The 30-year-old composer is teeming with desires and no longer quite closes the door to the idea of ​​a solo album.

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Cannes: composers climb the stairs to recognition