Tindersticks presents Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009


Claire Denis is well known for her thought provoking films which contain little dialogue, instead focusing on individual themes portrayed through long drawn out shots, sounds and textures. Often abandoning a conventional approach to narrative, she lets actions and music do the talking, creating powerfully absorbing films.

This has in part been made possible through her long term collaboration with Nottingham based indie band Tindersticks. Crafting soundtracks during the creative process, as opposed to being added in the later stages of production, their songs have been made with the direct intention of capturing the various ideas at work in each scene.

A celebration of the ongoing work between Denis and Tindersticks, the Usher Hall put on an evening of live scores played to images of Denis’ films. The result is an original and altogether captivating experience.

Following a few minor technical problems, the band opt to open with one of their own songs “Bearsuit” from their 1997 album Curtains, before breaking in to the emotive title sequence from Nénette et Boni. With ethereal piano and whimsical glockenspiel set against images of Alice Houri floating fully clothed in a swimming pool, the result is enrapturing. It is amazing how the combination of video and sound can make the Usher Hall feel inescapably cavernous; meaningful even outside of the context of the film.

As the set progresses, notable moments are recreated live: the beautiful train scene from 35 Shots of Rum, with its touching acoustic guitar and melodica; the opening scene of Trouble Every Day, which features one of the few additions of Stuart Staples’ impassioned vocals; and the haunting scene from The Intruder, where a single distorted note resonates as two men carry a body dripping with blood over the crisp white snow.

As a live experience, this is undeniably innovative, however a second half featuring songs almost entirely from their own albums reduce it somewhat to a mere music gig. Although arguably their music easily stands on its own, unaided by Denis’ visuals, there is a definite feeling that more emphasis could have been placed on the cinematic element of the performance.

Taken from the Student published Tue Oct 25th 2011.

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