Film scores

Soundtrack review: Princesas (Alfonso de Villalonga – 2005)

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On the Caldera release for Alfonso de Villalonga’s score for “Transsiberian” there’s also his score for the 2005 Spanish film “Princesas”. The story about the friendship and struggles of two prostitutes won numerous awards in Spain and, as it turns out, I knew a piece of music from its soundtrack: the wonderful theme “Me lliaman Calle” by Manu Chao. I love that song.

The first cue of the score reminds me of Gustavo Santaolalla’s darker scores. “Spilled coffee” has the same sombre string arrangement that spells sadness. I get a vision of a character with a hard life and very little hope. Things look a little brighter in the next track “Cuchillos” which introduces the piano. I like the use of the cello in “Hotel”. The composer doesn’t need more than that cello and a slow piano to convey emotions and give a sensation of hardship.

“Maltradata” has a slower rhythm than I imagined. It doesn’t sound shocking or brutal. It sounds sad and melancholic as if it was something usual for the character. I get the feeling that this is nothing new. The tender piano strokes also surprise me in this cue because the title suggested a whole different thing. Towards the end it gets almost jazzy and reflective.

“Cuento” is the main theme of the movie I guess because it appears in six different versions with different instrument solos. The original version is warm and tender. Same with the next track “Voluntario” which is a simple solo guitar musing and I always love a piece like this one. There’s something about them that gets to me and I get never dismiss a cue like this. “Voluntario” strikes a chord with me. The mood continues with the “Mar” version of the main theme and I am beginning to realize what I’ll be left with once this score is over. Even if I might not return to it in the future I will definitely mark this as one of the most honestly tender scores I have heard. The composer does a great job of setting this atmosphere and making us care.

I also like the revolt at the end of “Analisis”. This is the thing with “Princesas”. I like bits and pieces but I am struggling to separate them from the rest. The music seems a little too slow for me a times and I need to pay a lot of attention to it. I imagine the ones who saw the movie can establish a better connection with this score.

Cue rating: 73 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 2 / 23

Album excellence: 9%

Highlight:

Voluntario

About the author

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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