The universal language of film music

What do Penderecki and Pinocchio have in common? This video essay by film lecturer¬†Dan Golding¬†will tell you. It is a sprawling yet coherent and utterly compelling look (and listen) at one of the most iconic film scores ever, John Williams’ music for Close Encounters of the Third Kind.


Golding fondly remembers the time when film scores such as this one told the whole story of the film, evolving throughout the movie’s runtime in parallel with the narrative arc. Because in these blockbuster days, musical cues are more often “a brand, not an idea”. This video essay convincingly proves its point by methodically going through different aspects of the score for Spielberg’s sci-fi masterpiece. In passing, Golding also points out how the music fits within the larger theme of communication that the movie addresses.