Based upon the novel A BAG OF MARBLES by Joseph Joffo, UN SAC DE BILLES was directed by Christian Duguay. It is the second film version of the novel the first being released in 1975. The music for this version of the story is the work of the brilliantly talented Armand Amar, he is for me personally a composer who has never disappointed and has always been able to experiment and re-invent himself and his musical styles on every project he is involved with. UN SAC DE BILLES is set in the dark and dangerous days of World War 2, in France and focuses upon two young Brothers, Joseph and Maurice, who are Jewish and are sent to the free zone by their parents. This is a story of both courage and determination and shows how the two siblings escape the occupying Nazi’s and attempt to re-unite their family. The musical score is a delight and contains so many delicately coloured musical themes and textures that it is something I for one listened to three times before sitting down writing this review. I believe composer Armand Aman is a breath of fresh air in film music, and thankfully is one of the very few composers that is working in film today that still creates themes and motifs in an abundance that it is astonishing to think that one person composed all of them. As I have said he is a composer that is not afraid of experimentation, not afraid of using instruments that maybe might seem out of place, because each time he gets the desired effect and results. His music is varied, vibrant and above all innovative. Born in Jerusalem in 1953 he spent his childhood in Morocco, and it is here that he became immersed in the what must have seemed to be the exotic and ethnic sounds of the Country. He taught himself how to play various instruments including the Tablas, Congas and Zarbe, at the same time he familiarized himself with other instruments, many of which the composer has put to effect use within his scores for both television and film. He also studied more traditional music and was classically trained under the guidance of various masters and tutors. In the 1970, s the composer became involved in writing music for dance and felt that he could fully express himself musically via this medium, later when teaching at the Higher National Music School, he began to become focused upon the relationship between music and dance. Since those early days the composer has worked with numerous choreographers who are well known and respected in contemporary dance circles. He began to write music for TV and film during the 1990’s and considering his late arrival onto the film music stage it is truly amazing to see the impressive list of projects he worked upon. Thus far into his career the composer has been involved in the scoring numerous acclaimed documentaries.
His highly addictive, emotive and haunting compositions have become the beautiful and dramatic background to motion pictures of all genres and not just a background, because his scores are an essential and vitally important component of the film making process. His music essentially becoming another character within a storyline, or being a part of a scene in a documentary or motion picture. The music that he composed for UN SAC DE BILLES is probably a more conventional approach for the composer, by this I mean it is symphonic, and there is not a great deal of ethnic or unusual instrumentation included, this is more of a piano, strings and cello work, and one that is simply spellbinding. The composer has crafted a soundtrack that overflows with highly emotive themes, and is laden with fragile and delicate sounding musical phrases and passages, it underlines and supports the storyline fully, and has all the attributes and rich thematic qualities to enable it to be a heart-warming and enriching listening experience away from the images which it was intended to enhance. Take a listen to track number,19, PARIS EST LIBERE as an example, this is an uplifting composition for building strings that swell and ooze emotion and are filled with so much joy and relief they sound as if they are fit to burst. This is a soundtrack that you MUST add to your collection, if you do not then you will so much poorer emotionally without it, and while you are looking for this score, why not take a look at the rest of this composers works, his output is verging on the unbelievable and his talent is boundless.