“Max Richter has succeeded in translating the film’s blend of reality, memory and fiction into a musical idiom.” (Abspann Filmkunst & Kultur)
Today we reissue digital audio versions of Max Richter’s award-winning Waltz with Bashir soundtrack with the international reissue on CD and first-ever vinyl release to follow on 14 August.
Max Richter’s original soundtrack score for Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir (2008) is as provocative and powerfully intense as the searing images of a film that confronted audiences with lasting lessons in recent history and the psychology of trauma. The music moved millions worldwide and contributed to Richter’s stellar rise on the contemporary scene.
Acclaimed by Rolling Stone for its “hallucinatory brilliance” and as an “an altogether amazing film” by the New York Times, the Golden Globe Award-winning animated documentary probes Folman’s recovered memories of his time as an Israeli soldier during the Sabra and Shatila massacre in the 1982 Lebanon War. The director invited Max Richter to create the film’s soundtrack after “listening obsessively” to the composer’s second album, The Blue Notebooks, while drafting his screenplay. Richter instantly accepted and finished the movie’s music before its team of animators began their work. “Therefore the music influenced the film from the very beginning and not the other way around,” recalls Folman.
“Ari sent me thirty seconds of animation and it was stunning, unlike anything I’d ever seen,” notes Richter. “I immediately thought, I have to do this! Just as this film deals with the recovery of lost memories my approach to the music for Waltz with Bashir uses a number of found objects which drive the music.” As well as employing echoes and altered fragments of Schubert’s Piano Sonata, D.850, he accompanied images of Lebanese Phalangist militias with the “Funeral March” from Chopin’s Piano Sonata No.2, Op.35. “Ari had both the Schubert and the Chopin on his original sketch for the film, reflecting his family history, and it was a pleasure to incorporate these elements into the score.” Motifs such as these are woven into Richter’s eclectic original writing, which PBS News Hour described as “haunting and melodious … evocative of perhaps what war might sound like in memories”.
Following the film’s premiere at Cannes in 2008, critics hailed the importance of Richter’s unforgettable contribution to Waltz with Bashir. “Abetted by Max Richter’s ominous martial score, Waltz with Bashir matches a grim sense of estrangement with a distinctively alienated look,” observed The Village Voice (New York). They also recognised its success as a standalone album, something rarely achieved by a movie soundtrack. The score went on to earn Richter the European Film Academy’s Best Composer Award in 2008 as well as garnering nominations for several other prestigious prizes.