There is no doubt that French composers have contributed greatly to the world of cinema. Legendary names such as Michel Legrand and Maurice Jarre have collected numerous Oscars for their great musical scores. And in this musical edition we look at even more great French composers that have contributed greatly to the enjoyment of millions of cinema fans around the planet.
Francis Lai came to the attention of many French cinema fans when he wrote the musical score for the first movie made by Claude Lelouch, Un Homme et une Femme. This highly successful French film was made in 1966 and was the first of many collaborations between Francis Lai and Claude Lelouch. Lai also had considerable success on the international scene, and the score for the legendary Hollywood blockbuster, Love Story brought a whole new level of attention to Francis Lai. Who cannot remember the haunting Where Do I Begin? which of course won an Oscar. Lai was also responsible for the music of the erotic Emmanuelle, and has composed for famous French artists such as, Jacques Dutronc, Edith Piaf, Mireille Mathieu, Yves Montand and the great Charles Aznavour.
Known in some circles as RXRA, Eric Serra has been a prolific French composer for many notable films made by Luc Besson. Possibly the most famous collaboration is Le Grand Bleu in 1988. Some film critics have cited the musical score as the reason why the film gained such recognition. Serra also composed the controversial score for the Bond film Goldeneye, which met with mixed reviews to say the least.
Alexandre Desplat is one of the most highly sought-after composers in modern day cinema. He is truly an international phenomenon and his scores for films such as, The Ghost Writer and De Battre Mon Coeur s’est Arrete, have led to him being nominated for six Cesar Awards. Not only has French cinema recognized Desplat for his musical genius, he has also received four Oscar nominations. His work on such notable films such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Kings Speech has catapulted this highly talented French composer to the very top of his profession.
There is no set format to Desplat’s work, and he is happy writing for many film genres from thrillers, dramas and even animation. The list of his works demonstrates this: Tamara Drew, Un Prophete, The Fantastic Mr Fox and L’Armee du Crime. As you can see French music is alive and very much kicking, these composers have had vast amounts of success, both at home in France and internationally. There has rarely been one country that has dominated the field of cinema music as greatly as France.
French musical scores have enhanced films from the 1930s to the present day and have left a legacy of blockbuster movies and brilliantly crafted songs. They have brought film to another dimension, and some of the releases this music has been written for would not have anywhere near the success they have had without the superb musical accompaniment.