Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso NZIFF 1990) pays tribute to legendary composer Ennio Morricone and his prolific career that spanned over seven decades and included the scores to more than 70 award-winning films.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2023
"A painstakingly detailed, fantastically entertaining, and profoundly exhausting deep dive into the career of the hyper-prolific Italian composer Ennio Morricone, known best perhaps for his orchestral scores for Sergio Leone (including the so-called Dollars Trilogy and Once Upon a Time in the West), Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers, Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 – and a whole bunch of American films…
It’s one huge cinematic mosaic that tessellates a massive interview with the man himself (fortuitously filmed just before he died in 2020) with acres of archival footage and snippets from the movies he wrote soundtracks for. On top of that, there’s hundreds of interview clips from his innumerable collaborators, friends and admirers … with intelligent, pithy observations from Morricone’s classical composer contemporaries such as Boris Porena, as well as other film music maestros including Hans Zimmer and Mychael Danna.
As you would expect, there are lots of lovely personal anecdotes from assorted collaborators, including Joan Baez and singers little known outside of Italy who remember Morricone’s innovative arrangements for RCA pop songs before he moved into film. English director Roland Joffé is particularly entertaining, showing off his Italian while discussing Morricone’s mighty score for Joffé’s The Mission, which we see performed by a massive orchestra with Morricone conducting. Given the documentary’s director is Giuseppe Tornatore, it’s no surprise a small chunk is given over to his collaborations with Morricone such as Cinema Paradiso, but on the whole Tornatore makes it ultimately about his main subject. Kudos is also due to editor Massimo Quaglia’s astonishingly fluid work splicing it all together.” — Leslie Felperin, The Guardian