Princesas Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score Princesas by Alfonso De Vilallonga.
At a glance:
24 minutes of score
Geek Score: 80
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 0
Album Excellence: 0%
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Princesas from 2005 is probably a movie you haven’t heard of unless you have Spanish connections, but this is a high-profile film from director Ferndando Leon De Aranoa about two “princesses” as they call themselves who live in a world of prostitution in order to survive. One of the girls, Caye, hates the immigrant girl who works for cheap, but then she meets Zulema who works so she can send money to her mother and son still living in the Dominican Republic. Their friendship is strong and is a big theme in this movie. This movie highlights the prostitution scene and the composer, Alfonso De Vilallonga tells the story musically. The score got nominated for a Barcelona Film Award, a Cinema Writers Circle Award and a Goya Award.
The cello opens the score with ‘Spilled Coffee’, a quite serious and dark tone fills the eardrums. This was a lot darker than I had anticipated, but around 37 seconds in there’s a Spanish guitar which gives the darkness some fight, because it does lighten the mood a bit. ‘Cuchillos’ takes a different approach with a piano creating the thematic music. There’s some good use of the accordion and harmonica as well. The cello returns in ‘Hotel’, which must be a dark and dingy hotel where the girls do their “business” so to speak. The guitar comes in as well, and it’s pretty much a reprise of ‘Spilled Coffee’. ‘Maltratada’ is opening with a solo piano before the bass comes in, but it develops into a somber theme with strings, piano and guitar. This score is truly depressive, not in terms of quality, but the sound of it. There’s hardly a glimmer of hope to be found.
The girls have their stories and it’s told during ‘Cuento (Original)’ and all it’s variations, a minimalistic piano and guitar theme. It’s nice, but it’s not really going anywhere. ‘Voluntario’ is a pure guitar theme and actually the best piece of music I’ve heard so far. This is soothing and nice and actually that glimmer I was looking for earlier. ‘Cuento (Mar)’ is opening up the landscape a bit like ‘Voluntario’ did. Now we’re hearing happier things. I was looking forward to ‘Analasis (Guitarra)’ which according to the liner notes would be played to a horrific rape scene. In my mind I was thinking about all kinds of possibilities, but not the one Vilallonga presents. The music has the feeling of indifference which can be a valid thought in such a scenario because at some point you give up, you black out, you don’t give a damn. The cello is used here as it slowly builds up into a big finale with multiple cellos.
It’s troubling though that I can’t be invested emotionally in this score given the serious subject. I’m listening to the music, and it’s ok, a bit depressive sure, but it’s ok, even good in parts, I shrug my shoulders and play the next cue, then the next etc. I’m not enjoying myself for the sake of the music, but I am enjoying analysing it and writing about it. Still, I wish there was something musically I could brag about here, and I am looking, but I just can’t find it, the single moment that turns me into a believer, it’s not there. I think I will have to listen to it another time and see if something changes. I hope so.