You don’t have to wait for the much-anticipated movie, Emma., any longer. (And yes, that is a period, after the title. Some suggest that the period tells us that this adaptation is aimed at young adult audiences. You know, the ones who emphatically express themselves. With. Extra. Periods. It’s also a “period” film, so there’s that.) The movie was just beginning its run in movie houses across America when response to the current Pandemic caused theaters to close their doors. Thankfully for those of us who were eager to check out the latest Jane Austin novel-turned-movie, the production went to digital release on March 20.
Something notable about this movie is that both the director and the composer of the film are women. It seems odd that in 2020 a fact of that nature would still be worth noting. But here we are!
Composer Rachel Portman (pictured) began scoring music for films at the age of 14. To date, she has scored more than 100 films. Portman became the first woman to win an Oscar in the scoring category for her soundtrack to the adaption of Jane Austen’s Emma. But that was Emma from 1997! She went on to be nominated two more times, once for Cider House Rules (2000) and Chocolat (2001). Portman has also scored for television, and she has won prestigious awards for her work. For a full article, please take a look (and listen) at Classic FM’s article.
Film scoring is a great way to combine many interests in the arts. Literature, costumes, history, music, scenic design, set design, all play into the production as a whole. The music weaves in and out of all of those visual elements, enhancing every scene. The music propels the story, and underlines themes, or puts emphasis on a particular moment. Without music, movies would be dry, and stagnant. Maybe this is something some of you can play around with in your spare time these days! Pay attention as you watch movies to hear how the music is being used to enhance the experience. Try your hand at writing down some melodies, or improvising. And young ladies, get out there and be leaders in music! Compose, conduct, perform– the sky is the limit!
Take a listen to some of Rachel Portman’s work here!