Lately, I am doing what I am supposed to do. During Spring Break, I have had the chance to catch up with my research on Turkish cinema. One year ago, I chose a moderate life in the middle of Sonoran desert to a far-below-the-poverty-line life in NYC to study cinema, and whatever it would bring along. It brought more than cinema, and I almost lost my focus between midterms to grade and theoretical discussions. This break has been a comeback; I resumed my cinematic love with a broader perspective in theory, thanks to my advisor.
Bourdieu, Foucault, and any other usual suspects of theoretical framework that a first year grad student is familiar with are great mentors in text to understand the magical world of the movies, there is no doubt to that. However, it is still more about cinema, it is still basically about sitting in a dark room, and looking at bright images larger than you. Oh, and about the subject of this entry: the music of movies, a larger concept than the soundtrack.
On one of those good days of college, I bumped into a classmate, with her earphones on. Keeping in mind that she always knows the best of music, I asked what she was listening to, and she replied: My soundtrack list. She added, “I love listening to soundtracks, don’t you?”
That question brought me back to my middle school years, that we spent together in the same school, without actually getting to know each other. I could recall my soundtrack madness started with Titanic. It then got a vintage depth with My Best Friend’s Wedding, entered into the rock world with Armageddon, got to know jazz with the Talented Mr. Ripley, proudly accepted classical music with Hillary and Jackie, celebrated anger and fear with the Phantom Menace. The turning point was the Hours, though. It was too much sorrow, too much intensity, and too much humanity. I stopped listening to, or let’s put it that way, paying attention to soundtracks because it hurt too much. The moment my friend reminded me the OSTs, I already had Adorno in mind, the philosopher who condemned cineastes for abusing the magic of music to get their images through for the sake of totalitarian influence of the mass culture. I thought I could never get back and make a truce with the music in movies. Even Ferzan Ozpetek could not help.
You may turn your back to music, but you can’t shut the door to its face. It finds its way. The soundtracks stroke back with during my immersion in studying cinema. Text brought me the music. I should tell you, it is an exciting experience. They not only reminded themselves, but also helped me to feel the music of movies, something you sense rather than hear. Soundtracks are not the music we hear during movies, they are means to an end: exploring the music of movies.
I am glad the soundtracks are back to my life, with their awesome gift. Let this video be a celebration to that.