About half a year ago, I watched the movie the Village with four friends at my apartment at mid-night. We were kind of forced to watch it because a friend was trying to talk the four of us into watching horror movies. We did the vampire movie Let me in and this one. I was so taken away by the superb storytelling, the scene-setting, plot and how violin comes into making these happen.
The Village is reminiscent of all things strived for by the Amish community. Whilst ridiculed by many and misunderstood by most of the rest, the Amish and the community in “The Village” long for the same things: a return to simpler times when the good in life was much more prolific.
It tells the story of rural Covington, Pennsylvania in 1897, a town of less than 100 people that is confined within its boundaries by woods inhabited by a race of “mythical creatures.” While two central characters pursue romance, the restless male lead performed by Joaquin Phoenix seeks to end the town’s historical policy of solitude by exploring the forest. By doing so, the delicate truce between village and forest is violated, and mysterious events begin to happen in both places. The secret of the creatures lies with the town’s founders and their unusual group decision decades prior that would make current day libertarians in America thrilled by their resolve.
Hilary Hahn voiced for the violin pieces written by James Howard Newton for this movie.
The Gravel Road is one of the most famous violin song in this movie. It starts with grandiosity and repetition, bringing a sense of running or driving on a country road. But the latter part of the song enters a secret with a shudder of horror. It plays with the movie so well that every time I listen to it, it brings me back to the movie, make me think about its meaning behind and sometimes chill me a little bit.
Here is some professional comments of the violin music in the movie.
With their instrumental roles often meandering restlessly in the background to enhance both the authenticity of the location and the nagging feeling of displacement and, daresay, hope, Howard accentuates their tonal presence of grace with the remaining majority of the orchestra’s string section. Moments of solo exploration by the violin are sometimes aided by dainty, high woodwind tones, the flutes representing the innocence of the female lead and her journey to a mysterious world where she is completely out of place. Much of the score presents these instrumental elements in soft, wayward performances that literally blow in the wind and swell and sway from bar to bar. Howard’s attention to rhythmic flow, and the associated movement towards the inevitable confrontation with what lies beyond the forest, is a central aspect of his contribution to the Village, and he enhances the quiet uncertainty factor in any given scene depending upon the tempo of these ostinato figures.
This is the whole playlist of the violin music in the Village. I’ve been practicing these songs for a while and hopefully can upload the recording later sometime.