‘I can’t take my eyes off of you …’

14 Feb

There she is.

Natalie Portman in her spunky red hair, walking aimlessly, as if she is heading towards us the audience, while actually Jude Law is the man she puts her sights on. As the playful editing shifts between the two faces exchanging smiles, Damien Rice has started crooning his acoustic song riveting about “The Blower’s Daughter” with lyrics that is so aptly tuned to the scene.

“I can’t take my eyes off of you/I can’t take my eyes off you…”

For those who have seen Closer, you may find that the melodious composition of what can be a rip-off from tracks found in some aspiring indie band, actually plays a pivotal role in enhancing the mood of that particular opening scene, transporting audience to an atmosphere of longing and yearning of some undefined feeling.

It is a piece of cake to indicate how one song can successfully be associated with certain scenes from a film. Whenever I come to CD shops and listening to that Damien Rice’s song being played along, I’d surely stop and start acting like Jude Law, pretending to adjust my glasses, gazing at some scattered direction, only to find that no one is willing to sacrifice their dignity to be my Natalie Portman of the moment. How sad.

Or remember the cheerful, full of warmth dinner scene in the middle of My Best Friend’s Wedding, where Cameron Diaz’s big family members joyfully sing along Dionne Warwick’s “I Say A Little Prayer for You”?
And not to mention how Rupert Everett hijacks the whole film with his quirky act, mind-boggling story on his ‘fake’ encounter with Warwick that started him to devilishly sing “the moment I wake up/before I put on my makeup …”

The rest goes down to history as one of the great musical scenes ever found in non-musical films.

Just as we begin to think that soundtrack has been reduced its functionality to become a mere marketing or promotional tool of a film by throwing in any tracks that God only knows whether they suit the film or not (M2M’s “Don’t Say You Love Me” for Pokemon: The First Movie, anyone?), we are glad to reel on those few precious, magical moments where songs and scenes incorporate and integrate nicely to make into works worth remembering. However, integration does not always come smoothly as proven in the massacre of Cole Porter’s works in De-Lovely, in which Irwin Winkler tried to apply the formula on constructing Porter’s biographical story based on his songs that simply fail to engage audience in singing, no matter how familiar they/we are with those standards.

At this point of time, I can’t think of any recent director so tuneful in this trend rather than the genius himself, Mr. Quentin Tarantino, with particular reference to his Kill Bill Vol. 1. Remember the moment when Daryl Hannah as Elle Driver made her grand entrance as a one-eyed nurse, and the camera shoots her figure from below and as the music is progressing, so is the shot of hers slowly building up, and ends with a bang!

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Posted by on 02/14/2005 in English


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