ANGELS OF DARKNESS or STYRIA is a 2014 release, that stars Stephen Rea, the story for the movie took its inspiration from Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu’s CARMILLA. Which is the tale of a nineteenth century female vampire. The movie was the first feature film directed by Mauricio Chernovetzky and Mark Davendorf. The film makers had collaborated before on a short film entitled CASSANDRA, which was nominated for an academy award. ANGELS OF DARKNESS purveys the tale of the vampire in a very contemporary way, and is a refreshing and interesting take on the legend and quite different from the Hammer films or Hollywood interpretations. We see a young girl Lara, and her Father (Stephen Rea) travel to Eastern Europe and whilst there the girl is a witness to a horrific car crash. She befriends the only survivor of the accident who is a young girl named Carmilla, their friendship and relationship grows and intensifies, but as it does there are a number of bodies found of young women from the town of Styria, which are said to be suicides. Lara is not convinced that these girls have taken their own lives and decides to investigate to see if Carmilla is involved. The film incorporates the supernatural with the everyday world and does this convincingly.
The music is composed by Marcello De Francisci, who scored movies such as, SAMSARA, JANE GOT A GUN and more recently SOLUS and FIRST LOVE. The score for ANGELS OF DARKNESS is a fusion of symphonic and electronic, the composer combining these elements seamlessly. I have to say that the composer has managed to create chilling and unsettling passages within the score, these being especially effective when choral or solo voice is employed. This is a menacing and apprehensive work, with hissing strings dark and brooding percussion and harrowing voices that are akin to the sound created by Ennio Morricone in THE HERETIC. A fearsome and icy sounding work that brings shivers and a collection of sinister emotions to the listener. Maybe not one to listen to alone, as there is within it half heard fragments of themes, whispers of sounds and unnerving moments that jangle the senses and create a tantalising terror filled work.Available from Plaza Mayor on all digital platforms. Recommended.
What was the WINDERMERE project, well it was something that was set up in 1945, it was a project that set out to rehabilitate children of the Holocaust, taking them from the war ravaged Prague to the calmer and more tranquil shores of lake Windermere in the Lake district in Gt. Britain. Released in the 75th anniversary year of the terrible events of the Holocaust and the end of WW ll. It is a remarkable and touching story of the shattered and disturbed children and the attempts of so-called professionals to help them, attempts that were not only insensitive and unhelpful, but also in many cases unsuccessful. The officials understanding of what the children had gone through and lived with everyday being totally mis-read.
The story of the film THE WINDERMERE CHILDREN focuses upon three hundred children who are young Jewish orphans, the film also includes contributions from several Holocaust survivors who relate their personal and first-hand experiences of the Holocaust. These alone are compelling and emotional, as we hear of the separation from their families, and the subsequent atrocities that these then young and fragile children experienced. The movie deals with the subject matter in a very subtle and delicate way and brings to the fore another view of the Holocaust. The music is by composer Alex Baranowski, who has written a highly emotive and melancholy sounding work, I say melancholy but in fact it is a powerful and affecting score, that is as fragile and delicate as the story and the shattered lives of the children. It is an important part of the movie and becomes an integral component of the storyline and the scenarios on screen, underlining and punctuating without overpowering. The score is symphonic, and the composer utilises strings, piano, woods and solo performances from violin and piano throughout to create a beautiful and moving soundtrack. There is an air of sadness all through the work, but also there is another emotion present, which that of hope and at times wonder which is something experienced by the children as they see so many different things in England and experience a time where they are not in constant fear. The music reflects these feelings wonderfully and the composer masterfully weaves graceful tone poems into the fabric of his score and introduces a solo voice into a handful of the cues which is effective and haunting and evoked memories of the Lullaby from PANS LABYRINTH for me personally. The score is a work that is filled to overflowing with lilting and sensitive themes, the composers light and finely tuned musical touch can be likened to precise but soft brush strokes that are applying colour and texture to a blank canvas. It is a score that will simply wash over the listener and purvey a plethora of emotions as it does. Available on Sony Music. Recommended.
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