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Soundtrack review: Frame by frame (Patrick Jonsonn – 2015)

Documentary Film scores

Soundtrack review: Frame by frame (Patrick Jonsonn – 2015)


“Frame by Frame” is a documentary directed by Alexandria Bombach, Mo Scarpelli, and shares the story of four photojournalists who started their independent work following the 2001 fell of the Taliban. Since even taking a photo was a crime during the old regime, the photographers had a lot to document – but their livelihood is facing new dangers with the withdrawal of the American troops. Presented through cinema vérité with candid interviews and never-before-seen footage from the Taliban years, Frame by Frame swept the documentary festival scene with dozens of wins and nominations, including both the Audience and the Spirit Award of the Brooklyn Film Festival. The score was written by Patrick Jonsson.

2015 has been an awesome year for documentary scores. If until a year ago I wasn’t paying much attention to them now I am looking forward to each release of the genre. This makes me have more patience with the music and hear it with a special joy. And then a cue like “Aina” just comes to reward my mood and make me feel even better. What a lovely piano theme; what a sweet string echo… “Jamila” goes even deeper and makes me feel for myself the pain of the people this cue is about. It goes from heartbreaking to revolt and it flows very nicely.

This duality actually translates to the score as well. The beautiful melodic moments come in waves and sweep me off my feet in between the pieces which remind me more of an action thriller. Some moments work very well as a standalone listen while others (like “Lighting up dark corners”) would make more sense with the support of the images.

“Farzana” is my favorite cue from “Frame by frame”; it takes me in that sweet reflective spot where I like to spend a lot of time. Time actually stands still and the outside world doesn’t matter when I hear a cue like this. I can fill it with my own thoughts and feelings and mold it upon my state of mind. I’m glad when the thriller vibes are gone because the emotional moments are so much more meaningful and they appeal to me in a different way. “Farzana” is followed by a few more cues that keep the momentum and I am just in love with this part of the score. I love being stuck in this frozen moment. I forgot where I came from and I don’t care where I am going. I just want to stay in this moments.

“Frame by frame” is a meaningful and emotional score which brings enough weight to the story it tells even without me seeing the documentary.

Cue rating: 92 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 17 / 30

Album excellence: 56%



Wakil’s Past


A Photo Will Lead To Change

A Feeling

The World Is One Body

Burn Ward

An Untouched Reality





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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