DOLCE’s Best Musical Moments for the 2022 BFI London Film Festival

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Last week saw the announcement of the program for the 66th BFI London Film Festival, which takes place in the capital in October. Needless to say, there is still a great selection of films this year!

With some 164 feature films (including 23 world premieres) screened alongside television series, short films and other audiovisual works, we have taken the initiative to compile a list of the best productions with a strong musical component – whether thanks a talented composer to make the score, a stunning soundtrack or music that forms a central part of the story.

Check out our top festival picks below, we’ll see you next month!

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Meet me in the bathroom

This adaptation of Lizzy Goodman’s bestselling book offers an immersive journey into the early 2000s New York music scene, where bands like The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Interpol launched a musical renaissance in the wake of rising rents in Manhattan and the tragedy of September 11.

As we remember vividly from our own formative years, it was a scene that quickly went international – shaping the landscape of guitar music for much of the next decade. We’re thrilled to see how Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace (directors of the Blur documentary “No Distance Left to Run” and the LCD Soundsystem concert film “Shut Up and Play The Hits”) bring this vibrant subject matter to life.

Getting it back: Cymande’s story

“Great artists – sometimes their work isn’t appreciated until long after they’re gone.” Those are the words of one of the talking heads in the trailer for Tim Mackenzie-Smith’s documentary about legendary black British funk band Cymande. We couldn’t agree more!

The band, which combined elements of funk, calypso, soul and jazz on three albums in the early 70s, broke up in 1975 after being largely ignored in the UK – where they were subjected to the industry racism. Years later, songs like “Bra,” “The Message,” and “Dove” featured in Spike Lee films and were sampled in classic tracks by De La Soul, The Sugarhill Gang, and The Fugees, as Cymande shaped the sounds of a new generation of musicians, years after their separation.

We caught the reformed Cymande when they performed at the Bonnaroo Festival in 2016 – we hope the new film will see them on tour in the UK soon.

Living

There will be some great film scores scattered throughout the London Film Festival this year – with the only Headline Gala program stacked with top-notch songwriting talent.

Oscar winners Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Atticus Ross, who previously won Oscars for their work on “Soul” and “The Social Network,” return for Sam Mendes’ romantic drama “Empire of Light.” The National’s Bryce Dessner is the composer of Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s “BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths”. Veterans Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman composed “The Son” (directed by Florian Zeller) and “White Noise” (directed by Noah Baumbach), respectively. And Alexandre Desplat, known for his collaborations with Wes Anderson and Guillermo del Toro, finds the latter for a stop motion version of ‘Pinocchio’.

A new score that particularly interests us is that of Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch for the film “Living” by Oliver Hermanus, with Bill Nighy. Levienaise-Farrouch was previously nominated for a British Independent Film Award in 2019 for the film “Rocks”, and in 2021 she was inspired by the music of John Carpenter and Goblin for her music for the horror film Prano Bailey -Bond “Censor”. A different kind of movie will surely mean a different kind of score – but we’re expecting big things from this rising star.

God said give them drum machines

Director Kristian R. Hill explores the African-American origins of techno music in this riveting new documentary.

The film uses archival footage and interviews to take viewers on a journey from Detroit and Chicago to London and Berlin, tracing both the history of techno and that of African-American culture and music in larger scale. Record producers and DJs like Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Blake Baxter are among the influential artists at the forefront.

High school

Episodes one through three of this new series, directed by Clea DuVall (known for her performances in cult ’90s classics like “The Faculty” and “Girl, Interrupted”), will air at this year’s festival. The production adapts the memoir of the same name released in 2019 by Canadian indie duo Tegan & Sara, and uses an all-LGTBQIA+ creative team for the process.

Set in the early 90s, during the height of the grunge era, the autobiographical series depicts identical twins Tegan and Sara Quin as they enroll in high school – the tale exploring the two characters’ contrasting perspectives. The soundtrack, meanwhile, captures the sounds of the era in exciting ways via artists like Hole, Violent Femmes, and Smashing Pumpkins.

In pursuit of repetitive rhythms

The London Film Festival is not limited to feature films. There’s also a whole other section of the event that uses VR headsets and interactive installations, providing guests with exciting and immersive audio-visual experiences.

‘In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats’ feels like a clear climax to the ‘Expanded’ section. This project by filmmaker Darren Emerson takes audiences on a journey in search of an illegal rave at the height of the acid house movement in Coventry in 1989. The adventure begins in a bedroom strewn with posters and music magazines, and cuts through pirate radio stations and a warehouse on evenings thereafter, as the sounds of bass sequencers and TB-303 drum machines amp up the feeling of excitement.

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