DIFF 2017: Day 3

As I have done in years past, I will be posting short reviews of the movies that I will be watching over the course of the Dallas International Film Festival. Check back at the end of every day until April 9th to keep up with the latest in independent and documentary filmmaking at the largest film festival in Dallas.

Score: A Film Music Documentary is a fascinating documentary about an integral aspect of cinema that is often overlooked by movie audiences despite be present in every single movie you watch. Through a series of interviews with composers of movie scores whether little known or such titans as Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, and Quincy Jones, we are given a previously unseen glimpse into the process of creating the art form known as film music. The filmmaker also underscores the significance of music by showing clips of some of the most famous scores along with some background information from film historians and filmmakers, including James Cameron and Steven Spielberg. It is a much more complex technical and artistic procedure than most people realize; it involves many hours writing compositions, collaborating with the filmmakers, and conducting a live studio orchestra.

Heartstone is a beautifully shot and emotionally powerful coming-of-age Icelandic movie about a young teenager named Thor as he experiences the difficult transition from boyhood to manhood, particularly his relationships with his best friend and girls while coping with his sexuality. Although he lives in a very rural community on the coast of Iceland, a place foreign from our own, the film shows him doing what typical adolescents do: breaking things, horsing around, dealing with bullies and family, experiencing a first crush, and exploring sex. However, the story delves deeper and deeper into more complicated and depressing subjects. For instance, his best friend is dealing with the possibility that he may be a homosexual, and he must confront his abusive father and distant mother. After things turn for the worse, Thor’s bond with his friend and family grows stronger, which leads him on a path to true manhood. All this drama is set against the breathtaking landscape of the remote Icelandic mountains and coast, underscoring the beauty and dangers of adolescence and the emotional isolation of the characters.

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