Doha, Qatar; December 2, 2018: Khaled Mouzanar, the producer and composer of Capharnaüm (Lebanon/2018), screening at the Ajyal Film Festival, hosted by the Doha Film Institute at Katara Cultural Village, wowed audiences with impromptu performances on stage during his Ajyal Talk and by sharing back stories on some of the pivotal compositions for his movies.
At his talk on ‘The Power of Music in Cinema’, Khaled was insightful and at times philosophical as he discussed the value-add that music brings to film. “Cinema is about creating empathy [with audiences],” he said. “And music is the best thing to help create and enhance empathy.”
On his work process, Khaled said he likes to be associated right from the scripting stage than begin his compositions after watching the visuals because “when you work from the script, it builds your imagination; with images, you have less room for interpretation.” He said it also helps add value to the film, giving room for new cinematic interpretations by the director.
Khaled cited his work on Nadine Labaki’s first feature film Caramel, in which he says a tango he composed became the film’s signature music and enabled the transformation in filming a crucial scene. He said that in music composition, “everything is in the volume. Even a small decibel can kill the emotion or enhance it.”
He said for Capharnaüm, he initially composed a very romantic emotional score while reading the script, which was outright rejected by his wife and director of the film Nadine. “We did not talk for a week,” he joked. Citing the film as the hardest work he has done to date, he said: “Unlike other films, we were not working with real actors; all the actors in the film had similar problems in real life.”
When he went to the studio and met Zain, the film’s central character, he knew he had to abandon the initial music notes he composed. “The music had to be universal because his story could happen anywhere and it had to be raw,” said Khaled, adding that every big city of the future could have a Capharnaüm with all the issues today, including challenges of migration and resource management.
Khaled went on to perform both compositions and presented how his second composition has been used in the film. His advice to young talents aspiring to do music for cinema was to “study, study and study” the works of the masters and the people who walked before them, and to “love cinema” genuinely.
The session was moderated by Emmy-nominated journalist Ahmed Shihab-Eldin.
2018 Ajyal Film Festival’s Official Partners include: Katara Cultural Village – Cultural Partner; Ooredoo – Principal Partner; Novo Cinemas – Strategic Partner and St. Regis Doha – Signature Sponsor.