Alexandre Astier: his favorite soundtrack, the recording of Kaamelott… we have…

While the La Baule Film and Film Music Festival will be held from June 29 to July 3, we were able to speak with Alexandre Astier, president of the jury for this 8th edition.

Alexandre Astier his favorite soundtrack the recording of Kaamelott we

This week, from Wednesday June 29 to Sunday July 3, the 8th edition of the La Baule Film and Film Music Festival will be held.

On the program for this 2022 edition: a tribute to the famous composer Alexandre Desplat (twice Oscar winner for The Shape of Water and The Grand Budapest Hotel), six French feature films in competition, and a four-star jury chaired by Alexandre Astier.

Two days before the launch of the festival, we were able to talk to the creator of Kaamelottevoke his tastes and his memories in terms of film music.

1656431236 379 Alexandre Astier his favorite soundtrack the recording of Kaamelott we
The Baule

AlloCiné: In “Kaamelott – First part”, a Roman instructor tells young Arthur that “war is music”. Do you think we can adapt this line and say that “cinema is music”?

Alexandre Astier: I don’t really know, because if you ask that of a director who comes more from photography, or lighting, he will have approached it all in another way. I think that, especially in the field of comedy (…), what matters is the “when”. When things happen, when things are said, when the sequence changes… Above all, I think like that.

That’s not why I don’t like photography, besides, I’m a photographer and I try to perfect myself in the field of frames, etc. But, as much as I am super happy to work with a lighting chief operator, I will never let go of the editing. For me, it’s the signature of what we do: rhythm. So again, for me – and I’m well aware there are other ways to approach this – it’s really all about rhythm.

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Is there a soundtrack that has particularly marked you recently?

I admit that I don’t listen to so many soundtracks like that. I still listen to more classic works, but let’s say that there are films that I can’t wait to see again for their soundtrack. That is to say that I will eat the soundtrack, even sometimes before the rest. And that happened to me not very long ago with a soundtrack which is nevertheless very connoted, that of the Fugitive. (…)

So it’s signed James Newton Howard. He has something that I’ve never done – yes, a little bit but not enough, because I love it – it’s what we call orchestral pop. It’s about all this music which is with orchestra – generally quite small, but still with all the desks – and rhythm section (drums, bass, keyboard, guitar, etc.). It’s necessarily very American but – even though it’s a style that I shouldn’t like, because it’s a hybridization that is still quite dangerous, it can quickly get old-fashioned – I find that in The Fugitive, that high.

It goes well with Chicago, with this escape, with this hideout, with the guy’s escape. I’m a fan of this movie, too. And suddenly, this soundtrack surprised me. I didn’t remember it being so well done. However, the partition is not infeasible. It’s not sheet music John Williams where you have to reread 50 times to get what he did. It’s simple, but it works really well.

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Warner Bros.

When one composes (and in particular for the cinema), one inevitably passes from an initially solitary work to a collective work. How was this transition for you?

I have a personal problem with frozen work, as well as a personal problem rendering an edit. I always feel like an edit could be better. So there is always pain in letting go. And in music, it corresponds to the moment when it becomes collective. That is to say first by passing the models to the people I work with, in particular to make the scores, even if I do a little. And then after, of course, there is the day of the orchestra, whether I conduct or that I do not conduct…

Danny Elfman said that the orchestra was a bit of a monster, that you had to go fight a monster (laughs). It’s true that when you’re all alone in front of 95 people, there’s bound to be something in the way of a fight. Of course, I’m lucky enough to do that with an extraordinary orchestra, but that’s not always the case, so [parfois] we struggle more to get what we need. But, as far as the real collective, that is to say the recording days of Kaamelott – First part, I have extremely fond memories of those days. These were potentially the most emotional days of the entire film production.

Why ?

Already because I like evolving in a world of this extreme precision, where we are all together, in the process of learning a foreign language called music, and where we say to ourselves: “This one, we’re going make it a little more purple”, “That, we’re going to make it a little greener”, etc. We observe things, and we do ultra-detail. I admit that I am in my element there.

Maybe on KV1, I missed from time to time not directing the musicians, but it also allowed me to go down to the recording room, to compare things… We were more efficient like that in terms of time. But really, this collectivization of music that I made alone is above all a lot of happiness.

Is it true that in 2023, “Kaamelott – First part” will become a cine-concert?

A tour, even! We start in Lyon, but little by little, the big French orchestras in our cities are also taking the thing home. So actually, I think there’s going to be a bit of it everywhere. I don’t have the list yet, and not everything is set, but it won’t just be an exceptional event in Lyon, it will be a tour.

Interviewed on June 27, 2022

(Re)discover our interview with Alexandre Astier for the release of “Kaamelott – Premier Volet”, last July…

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