Boomkat Product Review:
Joseph Cedar's Beaufort is the first Israeli film to be nominated for an Academy Award since 1984, currently standing as a contender for the Best Foreign Language Film. The film is based on Ron Lesham's celebrated novel, depicting the final days of the conflict in South Lebanon (during the first half of 2000), as the Israeli army prepared to withdraw from its last stronghold, Beaufort castle, a 12th century Crusader fortress. As it stands, the film is billed as a rather more sombre analysis of the complex moralistic tensions that arise during frontline conflict. The soundtrack could easily have fallen into melodrama - as war movie music all too often can (think Barber's Adagio at the end of Platoon) but instead, composer Ishai Adar has pulled off a score that's loaded with ambiguity, presumably as a mirror of the film's own take on the whole sorry business of warfare. There's a comparison to be made between this music and Cliff Martinez's score for the Clooney/Soderbergh Solaris remake, in that both make excellent use of conventional instrumentation, electronic elements and digital effects, but the most striking thing about Adar's work is just how experimental it all is, with pieces like 'Time Passage' incorporating all kinds of electroacoustic detail and texture. Throughout these pieces you can hear treated recordings of various grainy sounds, at times sounding like the crackle of fire or just a thick, ominous presence captured in the gritty motion of air itself. There's certainly an overwhelming sense of the auditory environs being charged with some sort of... atmosphere, for want of a better word. During 'Evacuation' this sense of teetering peril threatens to spill over, thanks to some threatening tremolo siren sounds, at once infused with an urgency and a disorientating lack of sonic cohesion. As modern ambient electronic music goes, this is every bit a match for the sort of fare that's come out on 12k of late - the Pjusk and Autistici albums might be cited as sharing a similar language. Excellent stuff - and highly recommended.