Forget Pancake Day, Star Wars Day, Bagpipe Day, Cinnamon Bun Day, Doris Day, Dr Who Day, Bagpuss Day, Suströmming Day, Pokemon Day, Robin Day, because..
Today, Sunday 12 November is EUROPEAN ARTHOUSE CINEMA DAY
And 700 cinemas in 40 different countries will be celebrating the glories of European film-making.
How do I know this? Because the cinema where I am a volunteer, Bio Reflexen in the Stockholm suburb of Kärrtorp, is one of the 700 cinemas. My colleagues and I find the whole thing a tad OTT. We are all enthusiastic cinephiles and it is second nature to us to want to show the best new European films.
Whatever! A celebration of European Cinema is an excellent idea. (And that of course includes England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Eire.)
So, I have a question for you:
Which are your favourite soundtracks from European films?
There are so many films where the music creates such an atmosphere.
Betty Blue. The Wicker Man. Fellini’s Roma. For a fistful of dollars. A Man and a Woman. Suspiria. Chariots of Fire. Branagh’s Belfast and its use of Van Morrison.
No restrictions on historical period: you can go back as far as you like. Even modern soundtracks written for “silent” films.
(I was lucky enough once to catch Lambchop performing live to accompany Murnau’s silent film Sunrise.)
No genre restrictions! Kids films. Horror films. Cartoons. Erotica. Westerns.
And I’ll even be broad-minded about European directors making films outside Europe.
Herzog’s Fitzgarraldo. Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point. At a pinch, I may even accept Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Paul!
I am going to get things rolling by mentioning one of my favourite films from 2023: the great Finnish director, Aki Kaurismäki’s tragi-comedy, Fallen Leaves. Along with Celine Song’s debut, Past Lives, it is one of the best, and one of the most uplifting films of the year.
Kaurismäki has always thought carefully about his use of music to contribute to a rather melancholy, retro mood to his films. Never more so than here. The romance between Ansa and Hopalla begins when they first catch sight of each other in a karaoke bar. A very old-fashioned karaoke bar where they mostly play Finnish tango music.
Please tell us about your European soundtrack favourites!
Sergio Leone, John Barry, Vangelis, Olavi Virta, Yann Tiersen, Nino Rota…..