Mike Figgis Hotel Review

BBC Review

If music and film are interrelated languages, Figgis is equally fluent in both...

Lara Bellini 2005

Mike Figgis, one of the boldest and most daring of British directors, dominates the creative process by writing the soundtrack (as well as directing) for his latest movie Hotel. The synopsis; a dark parody of a Dogme-school film in the making, set in a Venetian hotel.

There is a lot of the overlapping linearity of a musical score inFiggis's movies (as in Time Code), and one could even say that his predilection for improvised acting performances owes to jazz as well. If music and film are interrelated languages, Figgis is equally fluent in both, not least because he is a jazz-educated multi-instrumentalist.

Figgis plays trumpet, guitar, bass and keyboards. He completely controls the music as well as the movie. And by the sound of it,he wants the music to stay minimal, yet supremely intense and evocative.

He employs a musical cast of rare quality: among them fusion bassist Dave Carpenter; Italian actress Valeria Golino; drummer Vinnie Colaiuta; and not least Skin (of Skunk Anansie) whose tantalisingvocal perfectly defines the dark corners of despair travelled by the movie.

The music acts as the film's subconscious truth. It sets the pace for the action and serves as catalyst to the scenic turmoil ("The Chase"; "The Chase 2"). A dense, oily darkness accompanies the actors in their descent into emotional annihilation (the evocative guitar in "Guitar Tremelo"; whispered wording and distant watery trumpet, guitar and synths in "Reverdo").

An overwhelming sense of alienation (and desperate lust) breathes through the obsessive dry pulse, minimal guitar theme and metal distortions in "7M3", with Skinerupting into a sublimely high-pitched chant. Even a Schubert lieder ("Der Doppelganger")picks its way through the gloomy synths.

Of course it is a soundtrack, of imprecise quality without the image. Still, the poetic fabric of human imperfection revealed through the music is somehow all there, waiting to be embraced by the soulful...

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