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‘Música’ | A Detailed Analysis of a Scene

“My name is Rudy Mancuso. I’m the director, composer, and co-writer of ‘Música.’” [PIANO MUSIC PLAYING] “This sequence that I call the theatrical montage is almost a five-minute oner. So the whole thing is shot in one take. I guess it was always my unorthodox approach to your typical second or third act montage. As you see here, it all starts in Rudy’s bedroom. And Rudy, who’s played by me, based on me with this condition called synesthesia, where he has a unique relationship to sound. And music and sounds turn into rhythm. And the reveal is that we’re on a stage, opens up. And the intention of the scene was for the very chaotic energy of trying to pull off an elaborate oner with movable sets that are flying in and out and being assembled and disassembled in real time reflects the chaos in this character’s life. This is the point in the film where Rudy is juggling the three people he cares about most in his life, and he’s lying to all of them. On the page, it’s actually called the rhythm of lies. As we see here, this is his long-time girlfriend, who’s trying to rekindle things with him, Haley, played by Francesca Reale.” “Later.” “Yeah.” [MUSIC PLAYING] “Next, we see that set disappear and a new set up here that’s meant to emulate Rudy’s house, Rudy’s mother’s kitchen, another woman in his life that he’s lying to, who’s played by my actual mother, Maria Mancuso.” “I promised — I promised Anwar that I would hang out with him.” “Oh, yeah?” “Yeah. But I’ll see you later.” “O.K.” “I love you.” “All right, I love you, too.” – [NON-ENGLISH] “O.K., all right.” [MUSIC PLAYING] “And then, the third, of course, that we’re about to see is his newfound relationship with Isabella, Camila Mendes here, who plays Isabella, who he’s starting to grow really fond of. And what was important to me was that not only that the camera never stopped, because that’s difficult and challenging and Rudy’s life is difficult and challenging, but also have the lighting cues be syncopated to rhythm. So anytime a new light is powered on and another one is off, those cues are actually in time with the music. The other thing that was important to me was for Rudy to change his own wardrobe in real time. And that the big question. How is really going to change outfits? And I said, well, what if he just changes it himself?” – [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] – [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] – [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] “So that background, that piece, which I believe is on wheels, had to be flipped — rotated, flipped. Lights had to fly out. New lights had to fly in. And yeah, it’s a very live performance-y, theatrical approach to a montage, which was — which was always the vision. And at this point, we’re retracing our steps. Basically, we went forward and tracked Rudy from behind, rotated to the right, and then came back to the left. And now we’re going backwards, retracing the steps. Amazonia, which is a subtle nod to our studio — the camera at this point is now rotating a full 180, and we’re trying in this moment to emulate some kind of nightlife, lounge, club environment.” “But I can’t really have a late night tonight. I just have so much.” “Oh, it’s O.K.” “So much stuff. Sure.” “I want to, though.” “That’s fine.” “You understand?” “Yeah.” “And the very last stage location is the one you’re about to see here, which is meant to emulate a movie theater, which we just did with some clever lighting and projection. This whole piece was really well prepared. We didn’t have a lot of time. I guess one never does. But particularly to pull this oner off, because it was very elaborate, we also had my very tall order of wanting it to also syncopate rhythmically. And it all ends where it began, which was also very important to me. It starts and ends in Rudy’s bedroom. And by the time the camera fully flips back around to where we started, it looks like we’re back in the bedroom. You don’t see that divide behind him in the background. So with clever schematics designed by my production designer, Patrick Sullivan, and my amazing DP Shane Hurlbut, and myself, we were able to pull this impossible thing off.” [PIANO MUSIC PLAYING]

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