We asked a young Black Isle musician to take a trip to The Lighthouse at this year’s Inverness Film Festival. Here, Freya Taylor tells us about the noises she heard...
Dark. Poetic, stunningly beautiful, but always dark. To me there’s a slight irony to the title ‘The Lighthouse’. Because it is about darkness, loneliness and fear. But also beauty and the consequences of wanting and desperation. Mark Korven’s score to the film is amazing and adds to these themes in so many ways.
The horn of the lighthouse seems to drone endlessly, only pausing to give way to screeching seagulls and wailing wind. However, the most successful thing about the score is how perfectly timed the silences are. Personally, I think that the most valuable tool a musician or a composer has is silence. You can do so much with silence. Korven has used it in such a powerful way in The Lighthouse that you feel yourself being pulled in towards the screen in those silences, waiting for the sound to come again. And when it does, its power has doubled.
Underscoring the whole film there is a tension and release that creaks, echoes and fades, creaks, echoes and fades. It felt like these noises were coming from somewhere deep below, perhaps under my very seat. Another genius part of this score was the use of almost the exact same sound to convey completely different meanings. Sounds that seemed to start off as the sea then grew into the wind, and then into wailing, which became screams, which faded to seagulls screeches, fading again to their cries. This was pretty much a haunting.
I don’t normally watch films like this. I prefer to slip into a world of guaranteed happy endings. But if you were looking for a happy ending, I would advise you watch only the opening frames of this film, as two figures approach a lighthouse. I would then advise that you leave the cinema.
Yet every shot is beautiful, every sound, every note of music, every breath taken during the film is perfectly placed. This is a truly dark and beautiful piece. I will never look at a lighthouse in the same way again.
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