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Sonic: Music in Movies

Pump up the volume for this selection of music-themed films; compiled in a long-player with copious sleeve-notes.

Music has been an essential part of the seventh art ever since The Jazz Singer first took a bow.

The films here display many different sides to the collision of music and film; from rescored silent cinema to the latest cross-disciplinary collaborations.

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Sonic: Music in Movies
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View The Valley (Obscured by Clouds)
The Valley (Obscured by Clouds)

The Valley (Obscured by Clouds) 1972 15

Different worlds collide when a chic young diplomat's wife meets an intriguing adventurer and his hippy friends in Barbet Schroeder's striking second feature. Soundtrack composed by Pink Floyd.

105 mins France Director. Barbet Schroeder

The two films by Barbet Schroeder are renowned for their soundtracks: two justly celebrated sonic odysseys from Pink Floyd.

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More 1969 18

The first feature by Barbet Schroeder (Maîtresse, The Valley), More created a sensation when it was released in 1969, quickly becoming a cult classic and famed for its Pink Floyd soundtrack.

118 mins Luxembourg Director. Barbet Schroeder

View One Love
One Love

One Love 2003 12

The legendary Don Letts directs this reggae romance about a rasta musician whose affair with a gospel-singing preacher’s daughter causes a stir in Kingston.

100 mins United Kingdom Director. Don Letts, Rick Elgood

This reggae-themed romance about a Rasta dating a pastor's daughter features sonic stars on both sides of the camera.

Ky-Mani Marley (son of Bob) takes the lead role, while it's co-director is none other than punk's key chronicler, Don Letts.

View Finisterre

Finisterre 2003 12

A journey from London’s suburbs to its heart, charting the influence of the city on indie pop band Saint Etienne.

57 mins United Kingdom Director. Paul Kelly, Kieran Evans

Saint Etienne collaborated with directors Paul Kelly Kieran Evans for this trilogy of films based on their beloved London.

Taking its inspiration from Patrick Keillor’s London, Finisterre is a psycho-geographic exploration of the city and its many influences on the band.

View What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day?
What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day?

What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day? 2005 12

Paul Kelly’s second collaboration with pop band Saint Etienne traces the hidden history of East London’s Lower Lea Valley before its Olympic makeover.

48 mins United Kingdom Director. Paul Kelly

Saint Etienne and Kelly followed up with two further documentaries, about the regeneration of Lea Valley and the Royal Festival Hall, respectively.

View This Is Tomorrow
This Is Tomorrow

This Is Tomorrow 2007

The final part of Saint Etienne and Paul Kelly’s London trilogy follows the renovation and reopening of the Royal Festival Hall through 2005-7.

55 mins United Kingdom Director. Paul Kelly

View From the Sea to the Land Beyond
From the Sea to the Land Beyond

From the Sea to the Land Beyond 2012 U

This fascinating and moving film by award-winning director Penny Woolcock is a lyrical portrait of Britain's coastline which features a score by British Sea Power.

73 mins United Kingdom Director. Penny Woolcock

British Sea Power’s inspired soundtrack to Penny Woolcock’s film is one of the most notable feature-length scores of recent years.

A fitting accompaniment to Woolcock’s elegiac montage of British coastal life, it's a score that instils the imagery with driving momentum.

View Hit So Hard
Hit So Hard

Hit So Hard 2011

Patty Schemel, one-time drummer of grunge band Hole, recounts her turbulent years on tour with the band, piecing together a compelling tale of rock and roll excess, and the personal story of one woman’s survival.

103 mins USA Director. P. David Ebersole

Before Montage of Heck, another grunge-era player unearthed her home-video archive for this fascinating document of rock excess.

Patty Schemel, drummer with Hole, reveals her struggles with drug addiction and homelessness in a candid and insightful éxposé.

View Straight to Hell
Straight to Hell

Straight to Hell 1987 15

Alex Cox’s anarchic homage to the spaghetti western, with arguably cinema’s wildest cast: Dennis Hopper, Joe Strummer, Courtney Love, Grace Jones and Shane MacGowan.

86 mins United Kingdom Director. Alex Cox

Alex Cox’s punk take on the spaghetti western is less renowned for its soundtrack; more for the legendary musicians parading in front of the camera.

Joe Strummer, Courtney Love, Grace Jones and Elvis Costello all take acting roles in a film’s that’s an admirably anarchic as an impromptu jam session.

View Radio On
Radio On

Radio On 1979 18

Chris Petit's cult classic is one of the most striking feature debuts in British cinema – a haunting blend of edgy mystery story and existential road movie.

100 mins United Kingdom Director. Chris Petit

Chris Petit’s brilliant appropriation of the German road movie brought a Krautrock soundtrack to British screens.

Alongside the likes of Kraftwerk there are tracks from British artists like Wreckless Eric. And on-screen, Sting strums guitar in his first film role.

View The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog 1926 PG

Ivor Novello plays a strange lodger who may be behind a number of Jack the Ripper-style killings in Alfred Hitchcock’s silent thriller.

90 mins United Kingdom Director. Alfred Hitchcock

The practice of rescoring of silent films in recent years has resulted in some unexpected creative partnerships.

The BFI commissioned a range of composers to score its recent Hitchcock restorations. Nitin Sawhney’s was one of the most adventurous for its bold use of mid-scene song.

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