How did you meet Catherine Corsini?
Rob : It was its historical editor, Frédéric Baillehaiche, who introduced me. She wanted to explore new musical fields, and new fields simply because this film denotes a little of her previous journey. Usually she worked with Grégoire Hetzel, and she wanted something more contemporary, more nervous. She thought that a composer who could tap into electro was a good idea. The funny thing is that in the end, after going through a lot of styles and a lot of testing, it wasn’t electro at all that came out of it all.
It’s a very realistic film, immersed in a hospital full of yellow vests, a very political film, with a dimension of comedy and a lightness. The music is therefore very often absent, it occurs mainly at the opening and closing of the film, a rather unusual music that plays the humorous shift …
Rob : That’s quite right. This is why it was very difficult to write the music for this film. Like life, it’s funny and sad at the same time. The film starts off as an Italian-style comedy with couple stories, characters that are a little bit whimsical, who tear up and argue, and suddenly the film switches into a purely real moment in the world of emergencies where everything is going wrong. And then the music stops. We give way totally to real time, to the truth of these a little miserable moments but made up of lots of encounters which can be fascinating. So the idea was to completely let go of the cinematic side that there could be when making film music, but the music comes back at the end to all of a sudden raise the emotion, the heart and the deep meaning of the film. movie. We are all made of fights and convictions whether political, social or intimate, and at the end of the day, what did we really do, did we really commit? , what is the political or artistic commitment. The film questions this. And that fascinates me. How everyone will be able to react to a political shift.
Despite the realism at the heart of the film, there are also moments of suspense and almost action when the sick or injured wait to be treated and are faced with the staff shortage. Was there the temptation to endure these moments of tension?
Rob : At the time of the script, the film reminded me a bit of John Carpenter’s “Assault”, a siege film. We are in a closed room, a public place like the police station. We are under siege, we fall into a climate of extremely intense stress. And we feel that the threat comes from everywhere. At one point in our musical research, we wanted to play this card. I composed six different soundtracks for this film. The temptation to play the suspense card was great. It is a card that I like to play in the cinema from experience. But we gave up when we realized that the deep meaning of the film was beyond that. It’s beyond the genre film. It’s something more intimate, deep and more realistic.
And in terms of instrumentation, we are no longer in something Carpenter, we are with strings, flute, piano and clarinet …
Rob : I could make you listen to Carpenter-style scores that I was able to do for this film, but there were also more in comedy. The film starts off lightly with a bedroom set, a little perky, then this same set comes back at the end of the film and gets worse, heavier. It is indeed a quartet with flute and bass clarinet. The classic elements, I tried to make them sound modern, and to find a color specific to the film.
How did the dialogue with Catherine Corsini go over these changes of direction? With diplomacy or with categorical “no”?
Rob : We really feel that she is an artist and an author, someone who takes things very seriously. So it was very exciting to work with her. I was also with a special relationship with the editor who is a friend. So I was able to get into the privacy of the film very quickly. I found myself in the foreground. It was fascinating to be with someone who knows how to make films and who has shown it time and time again. Even if everything was going well, I wanted to please the film, to find what was needed, and to please Catherine whom I met. I searched, searched, reinvented, until Catherine had a moment of panic, the day before the music was rendered, she wanted us to give up everything, that there would ultimately be no music at all . I felt that she herself had come to the end of her nervous journey and her approach to the film. And in fact I advised him to get a good night’s sleep and think of a better solution the next day. In the end, we used music from the film that I had proposed a few months earlier where instinctively I had perhaps understood the balance that had to be found between the map of emotion and realism. I’m glad in the end that there is music in the film.
There was a certain pedagogy to be done …
Rob : It’s an interesting scenario for a composer. I remember that it already happened to me in “Papicha” last year, with a very strong film and a political sense, suddenly we say to ourselves what good is music, what good is it to emphasize the feelings that are already obvious. And I have the reflex at that time of great modesty, to want to remove everything. And then in front of me I have female directors who tell me that they need music. So these are times when I’m asked to just aim rather than just dress up the storytelling. It is quite a difficult exercise. It is necessary to be in the total purity to in the end leave only the music which will make that the film will carry its subject even higher.