“I feel that music on the screen can seek out and intensify the inner thoughts of the characters. It can invest a scene with terror, grandeur, gaiety, or misery. It can propel narrative swiftly forward, or slow it down. It often lifts mere dialogue into the realm of poetry. Finally, it is the communicating link between the screen and the audience, reaching out and enveloping all into one single experience.”
Film composer Bernard Herrmann.
Music is a complex language. It ebbs and flows ever so delicately within a frame of space and time, highlighting the beauty of a lived moment that is defined by beguiling notes.
Great music is its own movie. The challenge is to keep the songs as powerful as it wants to be, to not tamper with it and to somehow give it a home. Music in movies is all about dissonance and consonance tension and release. It’s that moment when you hear a song and every word describes your situation perfectly and takes you to another level of self-presence and underscored feelings, such is the music of Khaled Mouzanar.
Khaled Mouzanar, born on September 27, 1974, is a music composer, songwriter and producer. He has composed music scores for several films, including After Shave, Caramel, and Where do we go now?. His work is rooted in various music genres, including classical, jazz, Mediterranean, and oriental melodies. His compositions are also influenced by Brazilian choro and Argentinian tango.
Mouzanar studied under Boghos Gelalian, a Lebanese composer. In the year 2000, he established, in collaboration with Zeid Hamdan, his first label ‘Mooz Records’ through which he produced the majority of Beirut’s underground music scene. Groups such as Soap Kills, Kitaa Beirut, The New Government and RGB were among these productions.
One of his first professional experiences in cinema took place in 2005 with After Shave, a short film directed by Hany Tamba. The film won in France the Cesar Award for Best Short Film in 2006. In 2007, and while signing with the French independent record company Naïve Records for a solo album, Mouzanar composed the score for Caramel, a feature film directed by his wife Nadine Labaki. In 2008, he won the UCMF Award for Best Music for the soundtrack of Caramel at the Cannes Film Festival.
In 2009, he composed the music for the opening ceremony of the 2009 Jeux de la Francophonie, directed by French choreographer Daniel Charpentier, which was viewed by 60 million spectators all over the world.
In 2010, while writing for different artists such as Natacha Atlas, Mouzanar composed the music score for the film Where do we go now? directed by Nadine Labaki, for which he won the award for Best Music at the 2011 Stockholm International Film Festival. That same year, Mouzanar recorded his first solo album (in French) entitled Les Champs Arides. The album was co-produced with the English producer Ian Caple and includes a duet with French singer Barbara Carlotti.
The role of his musical background in movies is clear; the music serves the drama and creates in the subconscious an idealistic and sometimes irrational dimension against which the naturalistic components play. Music is like a fairy tale it will take you to a place where dreams and imagination exist. Mouzanar’s music lives, it breathes, it loves and grieves. It courts, pouts, grows, and clings. It sings, sighs, weeps, lives and dies as the emotions are highlighted with every melody.
In movies, like Caramel and Where do we go now?, his music meanders mightily moving our souls by strings and piano plays purposefully pounding perfectly picturesque rhythms running round through beautiful scenes. Somehow he manages to find the perfect balance between emotion, picture, and the experience of the self.
And remember that from music grows wild, beautiful, frightful things of untamed splendor and immeasurable strength…
To music, to dreams, and enchanting melodies that will transport and uplift us!
Some of my favorite songs and tunes: