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Soundtrack review: En las estrellas (Ivan Palomares – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: En las estrellas (Ivan Palomares – 2018)

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“En las estrellas” (Into the stars) is a 2018 Spanish movie. Víctor is a film director who is going through a difficult life stage: he has just become a widower, he suffers from alcoholism, he is unemployed, and he has to take care of his 9-year-old son. All this causes Victor to be plunged into a depression, in which he will have fleeting moments of happiness. Every day, he tells wonderful stories to his son about the scripts he wants to direct, both live fantastic stories, and visit locations where the stories are shot. Ivan Palomares wrote the score and I had been waiting for new music from him ever since I heard his sensational “Le vent des regrests” score from a few years ago.

In the last few years I have been listening to a lot of music from Spanish or South American composers as they have become more prominent and visible and their music got better and better; there is one constant in the music of these warm, sunny lands, just like romance never misses from scores written by Italian composers: the poignant and melancholic solo piano theme, slightly sad, always elegant. For me it’s like a trademark, a dear old friend I know I’ll always find in a Spanish score; it’s right there in the main theme from “En las estrellas” and not matter the story, no matter the genre or where the music turns from there, that piano theme is a constant and an anchor. Right from the second cue “Cinema and escape from the landfill” the music changes tone and goes into the Desplat frantic piano land we are all familiar with. Ivan Palomares is showcasing his wonderful musical range going from that to waltz like fantasy in “Neighbourhood of old times” and to trembling string tension in “Angela in the garbage and the kiss”,a cue that just explodes in old school orchestral elegance at the end.

The fantasy element from the story is present in the music as well through subtle piano variations that drown the drama; the score is elegant and suave and once again I can’t help but think of Desplat and his “The shape of water” score, another composition done for a fantasy film. I enjoy listening to this score and exploring all its nuances, from suspense to love to fairy tale chimes. Ivan Palomares succeeds in creating a meaningful, velvety atmosphere that makes me as a listener imagine my own stories and draw parallels with things that happen or I imagine in my own life. “Dodging the police” is a cue worthy of the best and most playful animation scores.

“Into the stars” is one of those elegant and complex orchestral drama scores that for me can never fail, the work of a gifted composer who writes his own story, parallel to the one in the movie, with his music. There is an unmistakable golden age of orchestral film music vibe in this score with some endearing string and piano passages. The emotional depth of the music makes it work very well outside the context of the movie as well and makes me sure I will come back to it.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Highlights:
Tema principal
Barrio de antaño
Cines Vertov
En el bar
Rodaje en la calle
Ingmar duerme
Ángela en la bañera
Víctor en su casa quemada
Víctor en su casa quemada: Alternativa
Esquivando a la policía
Fotografías
En la carretera 2
El decorado del cine distópico
Recuerdos de las estrellas
Créditos finales

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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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