Monday, 8 June 2009

ADOV / Cannes / Stuff!


As it says on the flier: -

Written & directed by Darren Ward (Sudden Fury, Nightmares) – A Day Of Violence is undoubtedly one of the most uncompromising & gritty features to emerge from the UK in 25 years. Influenced by British & Italian violent crime thrillers of the 70s, and with parallels to The Long Good Friday, and Lucio Fulci's The Smuggler (Luca il Contrabbandiere), it weaves a dark tale of life and death in the underworld.
Searing with force, and charged with unflinching horror & uncompromising dialogue – A Day Of Violence is here . . .

Alarming stuff!
So, after 16 months, hundreds of conversations, thousands of bullets, . . . . . millions (well maybe not 'millions') of hours writing music and making sounds - A Day Of Violence is finished, and all is looking positive.
ADOV Screened well in Cannes, and is earning good feedback from around the globe, however some territories were slightly alarmed about the levels of onscreen carnage. That didn't seem to put them off though, as the intention was always to release a toned-down domestic cut, and a strong uncut version of the film.

As Darren was putting himself about Cannes, and doing his thing with a variety of distributers, producers, actors & directors, he also unexpectedly bumped into Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel) - and as Eli is a big John Morghen fan - he took a copy of the movie home with him.
The legendary Giovanni Lombardo Radice (usually under the name John Morghen) has graced so many of the best & most notorious Italian horror movies & thrillers of the last 3 decades, and his ever expanding legions of fans hopefully won't be disappointed with his featuring role (and of course, his demise) in this film.
It was through Giovanni that I became involved with the production of ADOV, which is something I'm very grateful for, because not only did I unexpectedly get to score my first full feature - I also got the chance to fulfill one of my lifetime ambitions - to work on a film with the legendary man himself.

Work on ADOV has been very progressive, because it was scored whilst much of the film was still being shot, - and so over the months, we've all tried very hard to put together something which looks and sounds quite different.
The raw dark, edgy visual aesthetic is underscored with an ethereal dreamy quality, combined with darker orchestral sections, and synthesized electronic elements which hark back to the halcyon days of the late 70s & early 80s.

Obviously, the 80's was a fantastic and important era of discovery. Home video came along, and a whole new world opened up to anybody with even the most fleeting interest in movies.
Although we didn't know each other until the beginning of 2008, - we (Darren and I) grew up watching many of the same movies & TV shows.

During various conversations, we could refer to the films that we'd grown up with, and we identified that many of the films and TV shows of that time were very 'music-heavy' - which was part of their character & charm. So we decided to adopt that perspective for ADOV, and try to get back to our 80s roots.

Memories of the LWT or Thames Television ident (usually just before something cool started). The Sweeney, The Professionals, Hazell and various other gritty TV shows of the time still seemed to loom large in our collective influences.


Those influences - combined with being weaned on a diet of films like Dirty Harry, Death Wish, The French Connection, Night Hawks and dozens of Italian Cop thrillers pulled us like a magnet back to our past.
So many scores these days are quite formatted and generic. Popular music trends almost dictate that scores are heavy on percussive elements, and recognizable popular signatures.
Action scenes seem to rely on heavy use of garage drum rhythms with huge production - and less so on actual dramatic music, which is a great shame.
With ADOV, we made a conscious decision to lean towards retro, and away from current popular styles & sounds, - which was not only very cathartic, but also lots of fun to just open the gates, and let it all fly.
I did manage to spend a couple of days on set from time to time, and I've yet to meet many of the cast & crew, although I feel like I know the characters intimately. Some of them far too intimately.

We spent 3 final, intense days right here in my flat - mixing, tweaking & making last minute adjustments before Darren took the finished film away to the Cannes film festival, and I have to admit that after living with it for the last year and a half, and getting so close to the characters, I seriously miss working on it now that it's all finished.
The official artwork for ADOV is courtesy of master illustrator & graphic designer, Graham Humphreys - and as you can see, it looks absolutely fantastic.
People in the know will recognize Graham as the man behind some of the finest cinema art ever created, past and present.
More detailed information about Graham's incredible work coming soon.

A Day Of Violence premiered on Saturday 27th June in the Harbour Lights Picturehouse, Southampton.