Back in music and anecdotes on the career of Vladimir Cosma … The great composer had granted us a long time ago, on the eve of a tour for his 50 years of success, to share some of the times strong of its filmography, in particular to express itself on its sources of inspiration or to evoke behind the scenes of creation. On the occasion of its 80th anniversary, we invite you to (re) discover extracts from this interview.
The Boom (1980)
“La Boum’s proposal came while I was on vacation in St Jean Cap Ferrat. It was a studious vacation, because at the same time, I was writing the music for Le Coup du parapluie, a film by Gérard Oury with Pierre Richard, and Inspector la bavure by Claude Zidi, with Coluche and Gérard Depardieu. So I was overwhelmed with work, and then there is this scenario of La Boum which arrives in which there was no famous actors. It was a film about young people that seemed to me to come a little late, because it was a time when we had made a lot of films about young people’s emotions, and I had perhaps done the first which was Les Zozos by Pascal Thomas. You should never have a priori species like that.
Since I didn’t have the time, I said I couldn’t do it. I receive a phone call from Alain Poiré who was the great producer of the Gaumont, who said to me in a very authoritarian tone: ‘Monsieur Cosma, you cannot do only the great Gaumont films. When we need you for less important films, without star, we ask you to do so. In a week, you have to send music for backing tracks because there are dance scenes’. There, it was an order! He was right in his judgment. And it was a lesson for me because it is very difficult to judge a film on a script. A film is like a miracle. Often, I had this kind of extraordinary success with films which were not a priori intended to make these successes. I’m thinking of Diva too, for example “
The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob (1973)
“Louis de Funès sent me a letter after the release of The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob, a very moving letter. It is one of the only letters I received from a huge star, who thanked me, who told me that I was a great man, that the music was great, that it takes away the film, that this, that that … It was very touching, especially coming from him, and coming from someone who was musician himself. Since De Funès was originally a bar pianist. He was not just a music lover, he was a professional. It touched me a lot. As a result, I worked several times with him, on the Wing or the thigh or La Zizanie. “
My Father’s Glory (1990)
“I had a period of 3 months to find the idea of what my father’s La Gloire music should be. I knew what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to do Mediterranean music, postcard , with things we imagine from Marseille. I wanted to expand the world of Pagnol, on the one hand. On the other hand, I did not want to make a typically childish music, under the pretext that they are memories of childhood , and imagine a little caricature music as we do for children.
Finding what to do was much more difficult. (…) My music had to be large enough to accompany this credits where we only see mountains, but not too large, too huge, to crush the film. Until the moment I came up with the idea for the Habanera. Why the Habanera? Because at the time Pagnol wrote his memories, in the 1930s, the composers were very inspired by Spanish music, flamenco, Ravel, Debussy … The dancing side gave a lightness.
Instead of making a Habanera punctuated by instruments, usual percussions, to do it with cicadas, I went to Marseille to record them, to be able to make sound plans. I replaced each instrument I had written for classical percussion with these different cicada sounds that I sampled in time and I superimposed on my symphonic orchestra. So it gives a Mediterranean color. “
The under-gifted on vacation (1982) / Santa Claus is a junk (1982)
“The song Destiny has a special story. I wrote this song for Les Sous-doués en vacances, a film by Claude Zidi in which Guy Marchand played the role of a crooner. The song became a huge success following the film. A year later, I am asked Father Christmas music is rubbish. I did all the music for the film, except the slow which was danced by Christian Clavier and Thierry Lhermitte, which was to be a preexisting song by Julio Iglesias.
And then, during the mixing of the film, I receive a catastrophic phone call from Jean-Marie Poiré who was the director: ‘Vladimir, it’s the catamaran, we don’t have the rights of Julio Iglesias, they don’t don’t want to give us the song. Don’t you have a song that fits this scene? ‘ I have exactly one song that could stick, but obviously we need the agreement of Guy Marchand and the lyricists, Guy Marchand and Philippe Adler, and especially the agreement of Claude Zidi, the director [des Sous doués en vacances]. For Zidi, there was no problem. So the song was mixed in the film.
It must be said that at the time, the covers of pre-existing music were quite exceptional. Now we hear it everywhere. The song once again became number 1 in the charts following the release of this new film. So the song has two dads if we can say “