On This Grey Day, a Tribute to Brilliant Composer Max Richter

For years now, German composer Max Richter has provided the sonic accompaniment to my most fervent emotions. His albums—from Memory House to The Blue Notebooks— are gorgeous and kinetic, wrapping you in a sense of melancholy beauty that’s at once calming and visceral, but always cinematic. Complex and varied, his work amalgamates intelligent and classical pieces with electronic notes that give it a pulse and make his sound entirely unique. And when it comes to his original film soundtracks, there are few modern composers that know how to perfectly score a moment so delicately, bringing the directors vision and emotional and psychological intentions to their highest point.

And today, Henry-Alex Rubin’s first narrative feature, Disconnect, begins its theatrical run. The thrilling and heart-wrenching drama weaves together story lines that reflect the immediacy and dangers of the digital age without preaching, simply shedding light on the strange, strange world we’re living in today. And as a massive admirer of Richter himself, Rubin chose the brilliant composer to score his film, highlighting what could be considered Richter’s masterpiece thus far, the devastatingly stunning "On the Nature of Daylight." Not only does the song play in its entirety multiple times throughout the film, the soundtrack is filled with edits of the tune and weaves its wave throughout, becoming a character of its own in the story—an emotional touchstone for the audience. And when the film hits its crescendo, Richter’s dramatic tones are there to elevate the moment into something beyond words.

So on this rainy day and to honor the soundtrack for the film, I’ve compiled some of Max Richter’s best songs for your sonic pleasure. Take a listen, see the film, and stay tuned for our interview with Rubin coming on Monday. Enjoy.

On the Nature of Daylight, The Blue Notebooks

Into the Airport Hallucination, Waltz With Bashir OST

Infra 8, Infra

The Tree, The Beach, The Sea, Sarah’s Key OST

November, Memoryhouse

Summer 1, Recomposed

 

Ocean House Mirror, Henry May Long OST

Infra 5, Infra

Autumn Music 2, Songs From Before

Perfect Sense End Theme, Perfect Sense OST 

Spring 3, Recomposed

Embers, Memoryhouse

Winter 2, Recomposed

Interior Tears An Idea, Henry May Long OST

Apocalypse Now! Five Cinematic Takes on the Earth’s Annihilation

This weekend, Steve Carell and Keira Knightley face imminent death in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World as an asteroid hurtles toward the Earth. End times have proved an endless source of inspiration for the film world, some more humorous than others. Here are five previous onscreen versions of the apocalypse.

Melancholia
The end of the world seemed remarkably relaxing in Lars Von Trier’s scientifically dubious Melancholia. The aesthetically pristine, possibly nap-inducing 2011 film shows Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Kiefer Sutherland waiting for another planet to collide with Earth.

 

Perfect Sense
Starring Ewan McGregor and Eva Green, this movie poses a five-stage apocalypse in which everyone loses one sense at a time. It’s both absurd and terrifying, but who wouldn’t want to watch something those two are in?

 

Shaun of the Dead
Of course you’ve already seen this modern classic, which pays tribute to the history of zombie movies and remains fantastically original. You’ve got red on you.

 

Zombieland
Cardio, double-tap, beware of bathrooms, seatbelts. You know the rules.

 

I Am Legend
Let us all applaud this Richard Matheson adaptation for providing us with one of Jonathan and Jack’s finer moments on 30 Rock: “Maybe we are legend. You’re Will Smith, and I’m the dog.”

Eva Green on ‘Perfect Sense,’ Loves Scenes with Ewan McGregor & ‘Dark Shadows’

Eva Green is best known to audiences as the mysterious femme fatale Vesper Lynd in the James Bond-reviving Casino Royale (although some hot-blooded males might best recall her revealing star turn in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers). Since then she’s appeared mostly in small, thoughtful, and British films, and her latest, Perfect Sense, continues the trend. A small-scale doomsday romance, the film follows Green’s scientist , who falls in love with a chef (played by Ewan McGregor) as a mysterious epidemic begins to rob people of their five senses. We recently spoke to Green about what attracted to her this role, and her return to big-budget filmmaking opposite Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s upcoming black comedy, Dark Shadows

What attracted you to Perfect Sense?
I thought it was kind of a brave, unusual story, thought-provoking but mainly a love story with the background of a catastrophe. I thought it was quite charming. I knew the director, David Mackenzie, and also the fact that Ewan McGregor was onboard was very appealing.

Did you know Ewan beforehand?
No, I knew his work but I hadn’t met him.

You share some very intense scenes with him. What was that like?
The good thing was that we had a week of rehearsal before shooting which was a luxury because it’s quite rare to rehearse on a movie so I got to know him and we were less shy towards one another. It just helped us to find the intimacy. Ewan’s also a very generous guy, very courageous, there’s something very pure about him and he’s not afraid to show his emotions.

Do you ever get used shooting such emotional love scenes on camera?
I don’t think so. I could get used to that, but it’s very unpleasant. You feel like a moron, all these people are around you, and you wish you were at least on drugs or alcohol. And yeah, you don’t feel very sexy. But it’s great when you have a partner who is in the same situation and humble and a gentlemen.

After you made The Golden Compass, you took a break from  big budget films. Was that a conscious decision?
No, I always do things from the heart and it can be a big film or an independent movie, something that has a soul. I need to fall in love with the material, it’s not a matter or money. As an actor, I just choose what’s around and what has quality. In an ideal world of course if you can it’s good to do a big budget movie because it makes you kind of bankable or whatever that means, and then you can do something smaller.

When you make a movie like Perfect Sense, is it something  you do to fulfill yourself as an actress? Or do you make it for  audiences, and in the hope they’ll find it?
I mean, both. You always hope that some people are going to see your movie. It’s true, independent movies are more difficult to reach a lot of people, but I think Perfect Sense is rather commercial, weirdly. But you never know, it’s a crazy business.

What is the rapport like between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton on set?
Like a married couple.

Is that what it seemed like?
Like best friends or brothers. Yeah, they are artists, very humble people and Tim is a sensitive guy, it’s always been my dream to work with him and it was treat, it was amazing.

What kind of tone can we expect from Dark Shadows? Is it dark, as its name indicates? .
It’s very funny, lots of black humor. Of course, it’s also very poetic, and the relationship between the characters is very complex. My character has an electric relationship with Barnabas Collins played by Johnny, and it’s kind of extreme. My character’s a wacko, it’s great. You don’t get that opportunity very often.

Is there any truth that you’re being pursued for the 300 sequel?
I don’t know, it’s a great character, so we’re trying to make her as complex as possible.

So you’ve been approached?
Yes, I’ve been approached.

The World Goes to Pieces in ‘Perfect Sense’

How fast would you fall in love if the world was about to end? You’d either hole up in your house, stocking food and water and massaging your shotgun, or you’d be out there in the world trying to do it as much as possible. That’s how the trailer for Perfect Sense figures, sort of. It starts off like a typical romantic drama, with attractive boy (Ewan McGregor) meeting attractive girl (Eva Green) and flirting a bunch. Can you believe that two perfectly telegenic people could fall for each other? I know, me neither.

But thirty seconds in, it takes a turn. All of a sudden, people are losing their senses — not figuratively, their actual senses, taste and sight and touch and the others. Then it takes this weird Blindess-meets-Children of Men tone, with lots of people shouting and crying, riot police in the street, city blocks turned into war zones. It’s just like Black Friday! All the while, McGregor and Green continue canoodling, because what else is there to do? 

These movies about society crumbling to bits following some global catastrophe are getting to be too much. How is anyone suppose to deal with their standard neuroses when there are so many fictional ones to pile on top? Viral pandemics, sensory loss, mass sterilization, zombie-fication. Everything seems like the worst. But yeah, this one looks pretty alright. It came out earlier this year at Sundance, but it’ll get a nationwide release on February 10, 2012.