Nomadland, The Father and Ludovico Einaudi’s cinematic universe
10.05.2021, by Giacomo Luperini
Ludovico Einaudi’s new album “CINEMA” is a collection of the Italian composer’s most renowned movie soundtracks, ranging from “Fuori dal Mondo” and “Intouchables” to Oscar winners such as “Nomadland” and “The Father”
How many different species of trees can be removed from a forest before it is no longer a forest and becomes a garden, a mere group of plants? What would a Mediterranean grove be without its hollyoaks, or an Alpine forest without its firs? What would happen if we removed the soundtracks from such movies as Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” or Oliver Nekaché and Éric Toledano’s “Intouchables” (“The Intouchables”)?
Most movies in the history of cinema, if deprived of their soundtracks, would lose part of their framework, the very trees that make up their forests. And, if those soundtracks had been written by Ludovico Einaudi, this would even result in a loss of narrative structure and continuity.
For the past 20 years, Ludovico’s music has built an unstructured architecture around great cinematic classics, earning praise from public and critics alike. His latest contributions include Oscar winners and film festival successes such as Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” and Florian Keller’s “The Father”.
“CINEMA” is a collection of the best pieces that have accompanied the intimate, deeply human cinematography associated with Ludovico’s work, constantly evolving alongside the ever-changing language of movies.
Ludovico and movies are joined by a strange thread, made of coincidences and emotional echoes. It could well be the subject for a book, the way directors have often found his music by chance, and chose it because it echoed their own feelings. Some examples are by now the stuff of legend: shortly after shooting Nomadland, for instance, Chloé Zhao searched Google for the keywords “beautiful, nature-inspired music” and stumbled upon a video of Ludovico playing the piano against a landscape of icebergs. Zhao chose Ludovico because she could see an analogy between his music and her protagonist’s thoughts, the constant, timeless sense of ecstasy she seemed to derive from nature. The director soon realized that his music would be able to transform her movie, enhancing its meaning and providing it with a narrative thread.
Or take Shane Meadows: after the completion of his 2006 movie This is England, with a soundtrack inspired by the skinhead and Rudeboy influences of his youth, the British director realized that his work was missing the depth that would make it feel “real”, and was forced to postpone its release by over a month. Stressed-out and on edge, Meadows was in a taxi driving to the airport when he heard one of Ludovico’s pieces playing on Classical FM, and immediately realized that was the music he had been looking for. Unfortunately, neither he nor the taxi driver had pen or paper to hand, and the director tried in vain to remember the composer’s difficult Italian name. Upon his return to England, by pure chance Meadows was met by the same taxi driver, and heard the same piece of music on the same radio station. If this time he hadn’t had a pen, and if he hadn’t been able to scribble the name “Ludovico Einaudi” in his notepad, This is England would have probably lacked the narrative notes that tore audiences away from 1960s England and plunged them into the movie’s timeless, universal events.
This innate ability to take ecstatic experiences, de-structure them and return them to listeners so that they can experience them firsthand as the soundtrack of their lives, has allowed Ludovico’s movies to bring audiences closer to the cinematic experience. It has also earned his soundtracks, many of which are included in this album, an array of international awards and nominations. “Fuori dal Mondo” by Giuseppe Piccioni, “Intouchables (“The Intouchables”) by Oliver Nekaché and Éric Toledano, “Sotto Falso Nome” by Roberto Andò, “The Water Diviner” by Russel Crowe and “This is England” by Shane Meadows are only a few of the titles that make “Cinema” a gem for movie and music aficionados alike: an unmissable opportunity to experience firsthand the powerful and evocative atmospheres born of the union between great moviemaking and the music of Ludovico Einaudi.
Photos from the set of Nomadland, written, directed, co-produced and edited by Chloé Zhao.