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Interview : Dickon Hinchliffe, composer of the "Last chance Harvey" soundtrack.

Pour lire cette interview en français, cliquez ici. : Information is scarce about you and not many French people know about your work, so my first question is going to be : Who are you, Dickon Hinchliffe ?

Dickon Hinchliffe : I was a founder member of the band Tindersticks and made 6 albums in that band and did 3 soundtrack albums for the French director Claire Denis. Since leaving the band I've become more involved in composing for film, but I also do orchestral arrangements for singers and bands. For example I've worked with French artists Jean Louis Murat, Renan Luce and Alexandra Roos and am currently working with the French band Cocoon.


You started in a band called Tindersticks with whom you released half a dozen albums. How did you make the move to scoring films ? Was it something you wanted to do or did the opprtunity presented itself?

D.H. : It's something I've always been interested in doing. I've loved film music since I was a child so when Claire Denis asked Tindersticks to work on her films with her it meant a lot to me.


I listened to some Tindersticks songs after discovering about your scores and I felt they were very different from your scoring work on "Keeping mum" and "Last chance Harvey" for example. Is that something you conscienciously did ? Having two different music worlds that do not collide ?

D.H. : It's more that those films in particular ask for the more "beautiful" elements of what I did in Tindersticks. There are other films I've scored such as a new American film "Winter's Bone" that won the grand prize at Sundance this year that are very dark and closer in tone to early Tindersticks. Having said that, there are cues in "Keeping Mum" and "Last Chance Harvey" that are not so far from what I did in the band and close also to the film "Vendredi Soir" that I scored.

On "Last Chance Harvey", there is a feeling of warmth emanating from the melodies, even on the quietest ones. How did you manage that ?

D.H. : It was important to me to bring out the warmth of the relationship that develops between Dustin Hoffman's and Emma Thompson's characters. Both of them start the film somewhat distressed and brittle but the music draws us to their vulnerability and softness as people that have been deeply hurt over the years. This was at the forefront of my mind when I was writing. I used quite stark, simple themes played by piano and strings to achieve this combination of loneliness and warmth.


Where did you find the inspiration to compose the themes from Last Chance Harvey, especially the recurring one on the piano ? (As far as I'm concerned, I can no longer dissociate the soundtrack from London on a sunny afternoon.)

D.H. : Joel the director felt that London had rarely been filmed in the way Paris has in terms of love films so he shot it to try and capture the beauty and "romance" of the city. This was part of my inspiration, but also to get to the heart of the film and explore the relationship between the characters as it develops. I tried not to make the music too sweet and sickly which it can become in many Hollywood "love" films. I wanted it to be simple music that generated complex emotions.


What now ? What are your big plans for the future ?

D.H. : I'm currently working on a documentary for the first time and am in discussions about doing an American comedy thriller that is being shot at the moment.


Finally, that is a classic on our website: What are your 3 favorite love films ?

D.H. : They are not typical "love films" but they are "In the Mood for Love", "Brokeback Mountain" and "La Peau Douce".


Interview carried out by e-mail by Frédéric R.



"Last chance Harvey" soundtrack is out and available at

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