Friday, January 16, 2009

Soundtrack Songs: I've Seen It All

Bjork: I've Seen It All


The saddest movie ever? This is the movie I would say in a heartbeat if asked that. I've watched it numerous times and each time I ball my eyes out.

The 2000 Lars Von Trier film caught my attention by the press it was getting, as it won for both best picture and best actress at the Cannes film festival that year, and simply because Bjork was the star. I was curious as to what sort of actress she'd be and what sort of film she'd appear in, not to mention how they'd work her experimental electronic sound into a musical.

Perhaps needless to say, it's amazing. Without going too much into the movie, as I could say quite a lot about it and really it must be seen for yourself, the soundtrack is breathtaking. The lyrics were mostly written by Triers and some other writers, with Bjork contributing, and then Bjork composed the music and sang. The electronic feelings of the music, though somewhat muted from her usual material, work seamlessly with her environment somehow, and the outcome is music that is both distinctly Bjork, and also a lot more personal and touching to match her character in the movie, as well as fitting with the film's themes.

In the film, Bjork is losing her vision. She and her friend (who'd like to be her love interest) Jeff, sing this together conversationally as Bjork fantasizes about being in a musical on top of the train that passes as they talk. On the soundtrack, she is accompanied instead by Thom Yorke of Radiohead and they sing more as a duet than as a conversation. The song was nominated for an Academy Award the following year, the ceremony in which she first appeared in her famous swan dress. She sang an edited version of the song for the Oscars, and did it solo. I felt it lost its magic. But this version is wonderful.

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