Save for those immersed in the field, not many people would connect the Belgian city of Ghent with film music. But in fact, this picturesque medieval burg has a long association with movie scores thanks to the Ghent Film Festival (previously known as the Flanders Intl. Film Fest), which this year celebrates its 35th anni, Oct. 7-18.
Before the festival closes, with the eighth edition of the World Soundtrack Awards, musical happenings will include an evening of John Williams’ favorites performed by the Brussels Philharmonic/Flemish Radio Orchestra; a concert by Clint Mansell and the Sonus Quartet playing suites from his scores to Darren Aronofsky’s “Pi,” “Requiem for a Dream” and “The Fountain”; and a valedictory tribute, led by Gabriel Yared, to helmer Anthony Minghella, who died in March.
“Anthony was a very dear friend, my soul mate,” Yared says. “His passing was a profound loss both to the film industry and to myself, and I feel that the only way I can honor this great man is via a musical tribute — performing the music he and I worked on for ‘The English Patient,’ ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley,’ ‘Cold Mountain’ and ‘Breaking and Entering,’ along with the music that inspired our collaborations.”
Yared, a longtime Ghent attendee, describes the fest as “like a family gathering for me,” adding that it “represents a golden door into film and film music and a great place to meet old friends and new acquaintances. It is also an open door to young composers, giving them the opportunity to develop.”
This year also sees the return of Dario Marianelli, who recently fashioned a 25-minute suite from his Oscar-winning score to “Atonement” to be performed in Ghent. “It’s wonderful that the festival is providing a venue for film-music enthusiasts to meet and hear scores performed live,” he says. “It shows that film scores do have a life beyond the film. Movies are responsible for the creation of some great music, and I find it reassuring that some film music ends up in the concert hall.”