Composer Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch Says Her Music Keyed On The Beauty And Hope Within ‘Living’ – Sound & Screen

Composing the score for the Oliver Hermanus-directed drama Living began with a very simple question: Is it really necessary to write only sad music for a story about a man facing his mortality?

For Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, the answer was no.

“It took a while for me to kind of, maybe, go on the same type of journey with Mr. Williams, embracing the tenderness of the situation and try to find that balance from the fact you are reaching the end of life and there is a sadness to it,” the composer for the Sony Pictures Classics film said at Deadline’s Sound & Screen awards-season event. “But it’s also a celebration if you lived your life in the way that’s worth living.”

Based on the Akira Kurosawa film Ikiru, Living takes place in 1952 London, where veteran civil servant Williams (Bill Nighy) has become a small cog in the bureaucracy of rebuilding England post-World War II. As endless paperwork piles up on his desk, he learns he has a fatal illness. Coaxed by a vivacious colleague, he begins his quest to find some meaning in his life before it slips away.

“It’s about finding that beauty,” Levienaise-Farrouch said of the film written by Kazuo Ishiguro. “But it should also bring hope.”

The French composer and pianist has a colorful resume. After studying piano in France, she went looking for a “change of scenery” in London by visiting a campus with a “bunch of film students.” She realized they needed music for their low-budget films, so that’s how she got her start. Some work she did with an American director led to an unexpected referral to none other than Larry David, who asked her to score his 2012 short Larry David’s Thanksgiving.

Now her dream is to play golf with the Curb Your Enthusiasm star.

Check back Monday for the Living panel video.

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