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Soundtrack review: Total eclipse (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek – 1995)

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Soundtrack review: Total eclipse (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek – 1995)


“Total eclipse” is another movie from director Agnieszka Holland, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s second most featured director after Kieslowsky. The movie presents a historically accurate account of the passionate and violent relationship between the two 19th century French poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud.

Right away, the turbulence is felt through the music. Kaczmarek’s usually quiet and temperate rhythms are alive with sharp strings and rolling pianos. The music plays like a string quartet and is very efficient in setting the tone of the score. This is a very good way to express turbulence, passion, urgency.

Midway through the score, we get a surprising and beautiful Celtic intermezzo. “Hashish” and “Le dormeur du Val” just send me dreaming of rainy days and wide plains with a wonderful Irish flute, one of my favorite instruments to hear in a score. After these two cues the string quarter is back in business.

“Two trains” raises the stakes with a soprano voice in the background. I imagine the scene is even crazier and more alert than the rest of them. The strings follow the inflexions of her voice in a roller coaster cue which I will surely listen to again. The method repeats in “The drunken boat”. These two end up as my favorite cues from the score.

Fans of strings will certainly appreciate this one. It makes me think of The Kronos Quartet on Clint Mansell’s “The fountain”.
“Total eclipse” ends up as quite an entertaining listen.

Cue rating: 73 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 27 / 55

Album excellence: 49%



Cafe Andre

Hashish Kiss


Le Dormeur du Val


The Sentence

The Drunken Boat

Eternity (Finale)

End Credits

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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