We all know them: those songs that take great movie scenes to another level. They can give you goosebumps – or sometimes even a deeper meaning to what is happening on screen. Before you’ll be busy exploring this years cinematographic highlights, glitter and glamour at the Berlinale, we serve you our Groovecat selection of the 5 most perfectly composed Music Moments in films.
Most of the times, the first 5 seconds into those songs are enough to make Leonardo Di Caprio „king of the world“ again or remind us that „nobody puts Baby in a corner“ (Dirty Dancing, for all of those of you who live in denial that they’ve seen it). But there’s more to soundtracks than the very iconic musical scenes that everybody knows. The right employment of music in films will shape and elevate the scene to something that will etch itself into your brain or maybe even essential to make you understand the bottom line of the story line.
We’ve asked around the Groovecat team to find out what their most meaningful, touching Music Moments in movies were. Just like our very own Music Moments in real life, they’ve ended up being very personal, none looking like the other. So for the next time you don’t know what to watch and your Netflix watch list isn’t really helpful either (so pretty much every. damn. single. time), try one of the films below and see what the movie soundtrack means to you:
**SPOILER ALERT, as some of these videos show final scenes**
#1 Solaris (1972): J.S. Bach – Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christu
This sci-fi film by Andrei Tarkovsky is less an exploration of space than of love and a human’s place in life. Psychologist Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) is ordered to investigate the mysterious happenings on a space station circling the distant planet Solaris. Here’s why it left a big impression on Roman:
„The slowness and static imagery lasting over minutes are so very poignant in its own and eerie way. In this build-up, the organ choral “Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ“ by J.S. Bach unprecedentedly carries the purity and melancholy of the final scene in Solaris. 3 minutes of valerian.“
#2 Absolute Giganten (1999): Sophia – Crescendo
Absolute Giganten is a beautifully plain hommage to friendship. It portrays imposingly well how everything in life underlies constant change – and how you shouldn’t take anything for granted, not even the greatest friendships. Because despite many similarities, in the end life is shaped through everyone’s individual decisions. (Sorry English-speakers, but Jakob’s pick is a German gem from his home town Hamburg.)
„For me, this will always be one of the greatest movies of all times. The way „Reprise“ from Sophia is employed in the final scene, carrying the whole film’s theme of transience in life, moves me. Both in this movie and with music in general, I like it most when melancholia and affirmation of life go hand in hand.“
#3 Matrix (1999): Rage Against The Machine – Wake Up
Matrix – the inventor of the bullet-time-effect. Although this was 20 years ago (feeling old yet?), it seems to be written exclusively for us today being characterized by big data, control, and artificial intelligence. With its intriguingly philosophical depths, this classic about a hacker finding out his true reality is well-deserved one of the most influential movies of our times. No surprising choice by our techie Josh:
„Neo finally realizes how he can manipulate the infinite complexity of the matrix, he’s the free radical in the supposedly closed system of machines. He addresses them: ‚(…) I’m going to show the people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world, without you, a world without rules and controls, without border and boundaries. A world where everything is possible.‘
Mic drop! Rage Against The Machine! In your Face! Where’s Part 2 ??!!“
#4 Collateral (2004): Audioslave – Shadow on the Sun
„This Music Moment comes as a brief respite in a otherwise pretty tense and hectic movie that goes bam bam bam“, as Markus puts it.
Cab driver Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx) is taken hostage by one of his passengers and has to take the contract killer Vincent (Tom Cruise) on a killing spree around L.A. Shadow on the Sun comes on right after Vince reminds stuck-up-in-life Max that „life’s short, one day it’s gone“. A wild coyote crossing the streets in the concrete jungle and seems out of its place, not in its natural habitat. The cuts are getting longer, it’s time to think, maybe it’s even a turning point in the character’s life to stop dreaming and start living.
#5 Her (2013): The Piano Song
The relationship between recently divorced Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and the voice of operating system OS1, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), is beautifully crafted, simple, poignant and more relevant than ever. Samantha wrote a song for Theodore: „I was thinking, we don’t really have any photographs of us. And I thought this song could be like a photo that captures us in this moment in our life together.“ Here’s why Carina loves this scene:
„I love movies that develop slowly and make me think even days after watching it. In ‚Her‘, the feeling of isolation and identity loss are so ingeniously packaged in the story line and soundtrack. Even though this piano piece sounds very light and vivid, like a picture of a happy couple, it still carries some melancholy – maybe because unlike a picture of a happy couple, this song doesn’t look back on any shared memories but is something made up, something not real? The two melodies could also stand for how different the two partners are, or how serious they take the relationship.“
Although we rarely say ‚no’ to a movie binge-watch and to discovering even more beautiful Music Moments, we’re pretty glad that there’s a real life offside the screen with all its ups and downs and surprises it has to offer. Music Moments included – however, not thoroughly planned by movie directors, screenplay writers and music supervisors but orchestrated just by the music on your headphones and your life itself. Even though chances are pretty slim that you’ll ever fly off to space to discover what your conception about love is (not meaning to stop you from dreaming though!), you more likely have your own soundtrack to people, places and phases in life that are really precious to you. And that’s basically, the main idea behind Groovecat – to give you a way to capture these meaningful moments and to be more aware of them. Maybe in the future, you’ll pay closer attention to the music you are listening to, the feelings it emphasizes and the memories you make to it – and that the most beautiful movie in the world is your own life.
We’ll leave it with this quote by Floyd (‚Absolute Giganten‘):
„You know what I think sometimes? There should always be music. With everything you do. And if it really sucks, then at least the music is still there. And at the place where it’s most beautiful, the record would have to jump and you only hear this one moment.“