The music of Woodwind would normally be categorized as Western Classical or Indian Classical Music, but it was the unique composition of Bonifaz’s music by Stefan Fraunberger that resonated late into the night.
Cape Town packed the theatre with full attendance for the very first showing of director Fin Manjoo’s film and it received an overwhelmingly positive response. Here’s what Manjoo had to say about his impressive audience.
“Firstly, their response proves our faith in the public, that we all have the ability to think and find the answers within ourselves. You don’t necessarily need to be cinephiles, because we all have a natural instinct to respond to beautiful cinematography and the sounds of nature if we open our senses and mind. This takes us all back to our root nature, we are with the character Bonifaz on his journey as he breaks out of the machine world of program music, I could feel it in the audience because this music is about channeling the energy in the room.
“I remember when we shot the church organ scene and one person in the crew said that this music was noise. Technically, that’s right, there’s music in noise too, but I preferred how our cinematographer Nicolas Joray replied back then. He said, “This is great! I love it! It’s like post modern Beethoven.”
“Joray hit the nail on the head then, understanding the intention perfectly. In the scene before the church, Bonifaz cannot hear his guitar, placing his ears directly on the instrument to try and hear it… and this is the only reference to Beethoven, when he went deaf and he would place his ears on his piano. To me Beethoven was not only the first bona fide music artist in Western Classical Music, but he was also the first rock musician. That was the rock music of the time… and here with Bonifaz we have the same sense of rebellion against the system, but not in a traditional Classical Music sense. We have this with a mixture of post modern electronic where I believe the composer Stefan Fraunberger was brilliant with the way he used ‘decaying’ organs left over in abandoned churches in Transilvania, Romania.
“Knowing the film, the projectionist at Ster Kinekor had the sound higher by one bar, and that turned the whole experience into an even louder rock concert. I’d normally think that it would scare a few members of the audience but we had a few 70, 80 and even a 92-year-old viewer in the cinema who came up to me after the film in awe and they still had their hearing ability intact… I say that laughingly but it’s also because this soundtrack re-tunes our sense of hearing through an initial awakening and then toward the soothing power of nature. One of the key ingredients of Woodwind is the healing, transforming power of sound and Bonifaz learns this from both nature and the ‘voice’. The projectionists have been informed that for all future screenings to keep the volume a little lower, as they do for all music films.”
“I would like to thank everyone in the audience for making this a memorable Premiere and an experience that I will never forget. One of the aspects of the film that wasn’t covered fully in the Q & A is the acting. Of course Leandro Taub personifies Bonifaz and he was magnificent in every little moment, the way you could feel the inner workings of his mind through even a simple gesture. Every performance was staggering from Taub to Jasmin Jandreau, Andrea Christina Furrer and Gopala Davies. Thank you everyone.”
The Q & A gave special mention to Manjoo who attended along with the camera team of Nicolas Joray, Rebecca Furlong and Bryan Ndikudze; as well as the sound team that was present on the night – Marcel Duvenage, Adriaan Hellenberg and Alec Mackay. Credit should also go to the wonderful Indian Classical Music performance by Naresh Chauhan, mostly on sitar, which gave the film an authentic Indian experience.
There were many other talking points on this Premiere night, but in a film about sound and music, it is enlightening that the soundtrack resonated with audiences.