Movie: Crossroads

Crossroads, a movie by Salvatore Petrosino, New-York. In this scene, Dom, the main character, is having an argument with a priest having been asked to bear the cross in his town’s Good Friday procession. Dom explains how upset he feels with God who has "punished" him by giving him a son with an inability to speak properly. Here, the music follows the ebbs and flows of the conversation, including when they are paused in thought thinking of their next response. The music mirrors and echoes this pattern. I wanted to create a growing tension through the music that climaxes with... silence. This silence, that falls at the end of Dom's speech gives his voice so much more presence and tension than it would have had without the music. With that in mind, I made music that, with its inner tension and build, could work as an introduction to the main theme, defining the main character.

Crossroads. The main character went to see his son acting in a play at the school's theatre. Just before the curtains lift, he sees a disabled boy in the audience. The music focuses on some piano notes, reflecting weakness and despair, because the scene is touching the character's pain, as he sees his son as a disabled boy too. When the curtain rises, his son appears on the stage, and watches his father leaving the theatre because he fears everyone will see his son as disabled, just as he does. Here, the music utilises the string orchestra to join both characters in pain.

Crossroads. The mysterious story of the crucifix is being told. The music aims to envelop the speech with mystery and increase the tension as the story reveals that the crucifix has a strange power on human beings, which is expressed via the experience of the main character at the end of the movie. In order to reach that feeling of mystery, the best choice for me was to mix harp and dim brass, sustained by a light line of violins, to add a hypnotic dimension.

Crossroads. Dom meets with the crucifix he is supposed to bear for the Good Friday procession. He feels impressed because its tall and looks heavy. The cross is supposed to have had a special effect on people who had lost their faith in life. The scene is an introduction to the main closing scene where Dom will have a special experience with the cross. Tension arises again as his moments of contemplation are interrupted the priest talking to him. Tension rendered, in my music, by a tiny and yet continuous presence of wood and choirs.

 

Crossroads. The "crucial" scene of the movie, when Dom, the main character, is reliving the experience of Christ bearing the cross and nearly being crucified. No external sound or sound effect can be heard. Only the music. It had to be full, excessive, and of course, it had to work strongly clearly with Dom’s character theme that has already been developed through the movie so far.

 

Crossroads. The main character has been through a traumatic experience, and then wakes up and feels cured from his disease, which was looking at his life and his family as a punishment. Now, he welcomes his wife and his disabled son proudly and lovingly. The music nearly occupies all the sound design of this sequence, which is why I allowed myself (and with great pleasure!) to make a symphonic score. Its opening goes deeper in emotion in three steps. First, the violins play the introductory theme. Then, after a retained chord in the sharp notes, coloured with three successive chords from very nostalgic horns, violins come to make a counter voice, again in the sharp (where they had landed anyway), as the contrabasses take large chords of fifths. The tension between these two voices gives more sharpness and width to the emotion, with the central theme then played by the cellos, the perfect voice and warm texture for that kind of context. Finally, the second exposition of the variation opens on this large romantic and epic theme, that strangely reminds me of the Indiana Jones theme tune!!! The never-ending flutes give a shiny and everlasting dimension to the joy the main character has found back in his life. The final part, when strings alternatively re-expose the final chord, with timpani knocking on the tonic and the fifth, and when the last chords finish on a crescendo, was very much inspired by Abbado's (and Jessye Norman’s) version of the 3rd Symphony by Gustav Mahler. This is hardly surprising in this movie where a father learns again how to love life and his son, since Mahler's symphony moves from what Mahler calls "Nature" to the "Spirit", with the last part of the symphony called: "What Love Tells Me".

 

The opening theme plays during the middle of the closing credits. Despite being in the wrong place, the theme works well in the context. The introductive theme played on basso continuo, orchestra and choir, is the theme for the main character, who evolves from showing wounded and imploring behaviour to having a joyful and cured life, is depicted through the music that starts imploringly and finishes expressing deep happiness. The text, "kyrie eleisson", ("Lord, Have Mercy") refers to characters in the Bible imploring God to have mercy on them. Indeed, this expression has been used many times in religious music. Here, it links the main character's theme to its religious implication, and its sorrow.