The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
A movie soundtrack, no matter how great, is usually to an extent subservient to the film it is supporting.
Last year, the French duo Air got the unique opportunity to create a new score to a 110-year-old masterpiece, Georges Méliès Le voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon), widely believed to be the first science fiction film ever made. The newly restored film, a version with each frame hand painted by Méliès, premiered last May at the Cannes Film Festival with the score by Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel, aka Air, who have scored other films such as Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides.
The Moon (lune?) soundtrack doesn’t sound like anything that could have come out in 1902 but does seem to capture that spirit of a world fascinated by space, but with little concept of how to get there. Last week, Air released an expanded version of what it conceived for the the 16-minute film, and the result is akin to a programatic symphony like Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, where we don’t know what is happening but we can sort of follow the story. And there are a lot of fun touches such as Lava, which borrows the spirit of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, and vocals such as a countdown sequence and a woman assuring us we will return safely back to earth – hardly a given after watching the rocket ship crash into the moon’s eyeball in the film’s iconic scene.
Air also gives us tremendous otherworldly sounds both digital and acoustic. They may have been hired to write this music, but you can tell it became a labor of love. If only Méliès were around to hear it.
Louisville’s Hart/Lunsford Pictures has secured North American distribution rights to a film with a prestigious pedigree that includes one of Charles Dickens’ best-loved novels.
The company, co-owned by former U.S. Senate and gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lunsford, has completed a financing deal for Great Expectations, which was shot in England and is currently in post production. The film was directed by Mike Newell, best known for Four Weddings and a Funeral and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and stars Academy Award-nominated actors Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham.
Great Expectations has been adapted for film numerous times, the last big-screen release being a 1998 version that modernized the story with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow.
The film is expected to be released later this year, putting it in the thick of celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Dickens’ birth.
This version was co-financed by the BBC and the British Film Institute. Co-owner Ed Hart, a theme park entrepreneur who came to Kentucky to rescue struggling and now closed Kentucky Kingdom in the late 1980s, said the company is still figuring out how the distribution rights will be handled.
“We haven’t yet decided if we will sell the rights to one of the many U.S. distributors who have shown an interest or to distribute it ourselves,” he said in a news release.” We might also choose to divide the various ancillary platforms (such as DVD, digital, and television) and sell those separately, while retaining the rights to theatrical distribution. We have plenty of time to formulate a distribution strategy, but our ultimate decision will be based primarily on what’s best for the film.”
Hart/Lunsford has been involved with numerous films at varying capacities since 2007. It’s latest was last year’s Dirty Girl, which was sold to the Weinstein Company for $3 million, according to Louisville’s Business First.
Almost every Christmas vacation, I think about growing a beard.
The time off lets me slide in my personal grooming habits, and then I start to think that with all the other fun that comes with winter — piling on extra clothes, scraping ice off the car — it would be nice not to have to worry about shaving.
But when I got my pastor’s email about Beards for Buds, I didn’t think about any of that. I thought about my dad, who died after battling lung cancer when I was 12. And I thought about my father-in-law, now in cancer’s grip.
Of course, I was in.
The idea was that the men of my church, Maxwell Street Presbyterian in Lexington, and Pisgah Presbyterian Church in Versailles were going to engage in a beard-growing competition from New Year’s Day to Fat Tuesday to raise money for the American Cancer Society and draw attention to problems that face men with cancer.
Like I said, two of the most important men in my life have faced those problems.
In a blog post, a friend, the Rev. Pete Jones of Pisgah Presbyterian, said the inspiration for this competition was a member of his congregation, Jud Davis, who has stage-four lung cancer. In their discussions, Jud relayed a concern to Pete that there was not enough awareness and research regarding men with cancer. My pastor, the Rev. Woody Berry, quickly emailed the men of Maxwell to get us in on the cause.
We are not getting into a competition with women for attention to cancer issues. The death last year of former first lady Betty Ford was a sobering reminder that as recently as the 1970s, breast cancer — another scourge that has touched my family and friends — was not considered a topic for polite conversation.
One thing you can say about cancer, it isn’t sexist, and men and women need support, whether it’s running in a streak of pink, trying to grow a beard, writing a check or offering a kind word or helping hand.
But this has been fun. A few weeks ago, a friend’s son who hadn’t been to church in a few weeks walked in and commented, “Guys around here need to shave.”
When we got our bearded buds together for a group photo at the end of January, I was stunned at how many of us were participating. And I know, when we get together with the men of Pisgah Pres on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 21, it will be fun to compare whiskers and hand out awards for facial-hair prowess — personally, I have nothing on hirsute Hollywood actor Zach Galifianakis. And yes, it’s been nice to not have to worry about shaving.
But I dare say all of us know men who have battled cancer, and the bottom line is, these beards are for them.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich