Pop Music in Cinema (Senses of Cinema Issue 96, October 2020)
To counter the bleakness of 2020, Senses of Cinema asks contributors to reflect on the power of music in cinema. We’re specifically after reflections on that singular moment in a film when music and sound takes over. When the energy of music shifts the tone of a film, and takes it to another level, flooding the screen with the mesmerising effects of rhythm, beat and melody. It might be the use of a single iconic song like “Go West” in Zhangke Jia’s Mountains May Depart (2015). Or the reflexive use of a song sequence such as Greta Gerwig tearing through city streets to Bowie’s “Modern Love” in Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012) that ‘quotes’ Denis Lavant’s character madly sprinting to the same song in Mauvais Sang (Leos Carax, 1986). The use of pop music in cinema, and song in general, is often transformative, sometimes ironic and, almost always, sheer joy.