“With Moonlight, when I first read the screenplay… it just felt like a piece of poetry,” says the composer of the film’s score. Nicholas Britell was nominated for an Academy Award for his work: in this video, he describes how he collaborated with its director Barry Jenkins. “We said ‘what if we chopped and screwed the score?’” What seems to be warped moments of sound are actually the chords from an earlier theme.

Britell – who also scored The Big Short and composed much of the music in 12 Years a Slave – reveals what he considers to be the most important musical movement of the past 50 years, and how a score enhances action in film.

“The most interesting film music is when it’s saying something that isn’t on the picture – sometimes when music enters a scene, it just opens a scene in a certain way,” says Britell. “Every composer has their internal emotional canvas – you’re taking emotions, and you’re translating them into these frequencies in the air that somehow affect us.”

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