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Soundtrack review: Stanno tutti bene (Ennio Morricone – 1990)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Stanno tutti bene (Ennio Morricone – 1990)


I didn’t see the original 1990 Giuseppe Tornatore film “Stanno Tutti bene”. It stared Marcelo Mastroiani as a retired and widowed Sicilian man whose 5 grown up children stand up for a family reunion and he decides to pay them all visits. Slowly he discovers each of them hides a secret and has something broken inside… As he returns home he visits his wife’s grave and tells her ironical that “Everybody’s fine”. This is the title of the Amwrican remake starring Robert De Niro which I did see and it was one of the move moving films for me. I really felt it. It made me feel even close to my dad, my family. This year we get the reissue of Ennio Morricone’s score for the original movie.

The thing is… a score by Ennio Morriconne for an Italian film is one of the surest bets for me. When I run into something like this I cannot wait to hear it and embrace it with all my heart. Few sounds in the film music world are as dear to me and bring me as much pleasure and nostalgia as a Morricone romantic score. My heart sings along with the instruments and the dance between light, melodic and more serious makes me feel dizzy with pleasure. There is no other composer in the world that can mix these ingredients into such an outstanding final product. If we talk just about romance John Barry can be just as good, but Ennio adds something extra to his music: the local, original flavor which only a true Italian like him can understand and express. The first cue “Viaggio” tells me everything I need to know about this score. Pure orchestral delight, light and joyful like an Italian summer day spent on the narrow streets of a small town with a gelato in hand.

What a wonderful journey this score is! I’d like to take a train ride just to be able to enjoy it in such a setting. There are magical inserts of pan flute which send me right to “Once upon a time in America” and Gheorghe Zamfir. There are chimes that remind me of the water of a lake glittering under the summer sun. The melancholy in the music is toned down and stings sweetly. The music is a dream I want to wake up as late as I can from. Speaking of dreams, the cue “Sogno” deserves a special mention because Ennio wrote it together with his son, Andrea.

“Stanno tutti bene” is as honest as film music can get. When a composer knows a director and the heart and soul of the story and setting as Ennio Morricone does Giuseppe Tornatore and Italy, magic happens. I can’t wait to see the movie as well because I want to feel the whole package. Ennio and Giuseppe don’t even need to talk anymore. They come from the same artistic place and each of them knows what to expect from the other and how to perfectly unite image and sound.

This wonderful score doesn’t need more words from me. This should be all about the music and about another in the long list of masterpiece from probably the best composer who ever lived. “Stanno tutti bene” is life. Take joy in it!

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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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