Composer Mica Levi has been awarded the European Film Award for best composer, for her music to Under The Skin, a steamy Sci-Fi horror thriller, starring Scarlett Johansson. Levi had no prior film experience, but the film’s music producer had heard a collaboration that her band, Micachu and the Shapes, had done with the London Sinfonietta.
An article in The Guardian describes what happened. Still trying to grasp her dramatic entre into the film music world, Levi has quite a bit to say about the film scene: “When I was at the European Film Awards most of the people there were old white dudes. There were more women film-makers than before, … but, overall, the film world is just white men. I think that’s weird because film is storytelling and I don’t believe that it’s just white dudes telling stories, you know?” The Guardian article observes that the number of women who write music for films (and make a living from it) is very small. The article lists some (and the comments add some more that the author did not include). Nevertheless, Levi’s success is a rarity. The eerie, atmospheric language of the film’s score is suggesting comparison with Penderecki and Ligeti. The LA Times says “her spooky, edging-on-atonal arrangements are … the film’s emotional centerpiece, even more than its sparse and often improvised dialogue.” Audio clips from Under The Skin, and songs by her band, Micachu and the Shapes, can be heard on YouTube. I myself am a real lightweight and don’t recommend listening to the Under The Skin score late at night ….