Film scores

Soundtrack review: Ma ma (Alberto Iglesias – 2015)

“Ma ma” is the latest movie starring Penelope Cruz. It’s directed by Julio Medem and is the story about how In the aftermath of a tragedy a woman, Magda, reacts with a surge of newfound life that engulfs her circle of family and friends. Alberto Iglesias wrote the score and somehow this feels right since it’s a Spanish movie starring Penelope Cruz. Iglesias has been a hit and miss with me but his scores always bring something interesting.

“Ma ma” burns slowly and takes its time to develop. The composer was in no rush to communicate his ideas to us and this score takes us through his entire thought process, through all the times he changed his mind, to all the drafts of cue and to all the moments where he took a different turn. “Ma ma” makes me think of the image of someone scribbling a draft of a drawing on a piece of paper without being sure of the end product. I see someone a little absent minded that shifts in an out of focus and has moments of stride and brilliance and moments when the brush or pen just move over the paper driven by an absent minded hand.

The instruments are few and scarce but this gives them time to make their statements and tell their stories. There’s piano, a violin and sometimes a brass instrument which never interfere with each other. The atmosphere in “Ma ma” is constant and lazy and would fit very well in a jazz bar lounge that got stuck in time. There are some moments like “Se parece al mio” and “Y tu de que jucabas” which are a little more dramatic but just barely. Other cues feature a violin sound that makes me think of Russia.

Except the sadness and slow moving pace there’s not much else I will remember from this score. It was moody and easy to listen and it will fade from my memory as soon as the last prolonged piano note will lose its echo. “Ma ma” is a dusty old photograph of a time long gone. Alberto Iglesias sticks to his usual sound and his unique pace and his fans will surely appreciate this one. I could pick the composer of a cue like “Magda” from 100. I didn’t feel the need to skip any cues or to rush through this score because the music is nice, but it was a one-time only deal.

Cue rating: 79 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 0 / 43

Album excellence: 0%

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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