I’ve blogged briefly on favourite movie music before but couldn’t resist Castor Troy's invitation to participate in the Desert Island CD Blogathon. The concept: you are stranded on a desert island with only one CD (and a CD player etc...). What are 12 tracks that you would want to have with you? The one requirement is that each track comes from a movie soundtrack... Choosing just 12 favourite songs or instrumental pieces is both a delightful and a daunting task so this list has been compiled, in truth, without too much cogitation: these are simply the tracks that came to mind first. Some songs here are ones that I'd heard before seeing the film in question; others I learned about because of the movie, and are forever associated with it. Click on the titles/artist names to link to the songs.
1. "A Night In" by Tindersticks - Intimacy (Chereau, 2001)
If one thing’s for sure, it’s that French filmmakers love them some Tindersticks. Claire Denis’s collaborations with the band are the most well known, but since Denis is already represented on this list twice, I’ve opted instead for the band’s stunning “A Night In” as featured over images of the slumbering Mark Rylance in the wonderfully portentous opening credit sequence to Patrice Chereau’s Intimacy.
2. "Streets of Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen - Philadelphia (Demme, 1993)
Demme’s use of music across his work has been superb, and you could stick a pin in the Philadelphia soundtrack and find a song I love. But I have to go with the movie's most famous track, a mournful plea for brotherhood that's become one of my all-time favourite Springsteen songs. It accompanies another of my all-time favourite credit sequences too.
3. “Cambodia” by Kim Wilde - Dans Paris (Honore, 2006)
A nostalgic encounter with Kim Wilde’s “Cambodia” starts to lure Romain Duris out of the break-up blues. What a great pop song, and few scenes convey our solitary bedroom music moments quite like this one.
4. "Against the Wind" by Bob Seger - Forrest Gump (Zemeckis, 1994)
Seger was never cool but who cares? I’m always, always moved by “Against the Wind.” The trajectory of a life in three verses. Gorgeous and timeless.
5. "Momentum" by Aimee Mann - Magnolia (Anderson, 1999)
Mann's songs are such an integral part of the experience of Magnolia that it's hard to pick favourites, but the awesome "Momentum" just takes it for me.
6. "Ne Me Quitte Pas" by Maysa Mataraso - Law of Desire (Almodovar, 1986)
"How can I explain why seeing the little girl in Law of Desire singing 'Ne Me Quitte Pas' in playback was for me so heart-rending?" wonders Frederic Strauss. How indeed. The mystery and magic of Almodovar at his best; a classic piece of Brel and a great version by Ms. Mataraso.
7. "Where Is My Mind?" by Pixies - Fight Club (Fincher, 1999)
8. "Sweetness" by Yes - Buffalo ‘66 (Gallo, 1998)
King Crimson's "Moonchild" in the bowling alley sequence cuts it close but I can never resist this wonderful Yes song, used at Buffalo '66 's redemptive close.
9. "The Rhythm of the Night" by Corona - Beau Travail (Denis, 1999)
After seeing Beau Travail it’s pretty much impossible to hear "The Rhythm of the Night" without Denis Lavant's amazing display at the end of the movie coming to mind. A while on a desert island should give me time to perfect some of those moves... Also nicely used in Ozon’s Sitcom (1998).
10. "Dan" by Michael Nyman - Wonderland (Winterbottom, 1999)
Each of Wonderland's characters gets a theme of their own. "Dan" is the one that's most indelibly associated with the movie for me.
11. "Siren" by Tori Amos - Great Expectations (Cuaron, 1998)
Because I probably wouldn’t survive for too long on this desert island without the sound of Tori’s voice and piano-playing for inspiration.
12. "Nightshift" by The Commodores - 35 Shots of Rum (Denis, 2008)
Honestly, I'm not sure that I'd ever heard "Nightshift" before seeing 35 Shots of Rum. Now it's a song that I can't imagine doing without.