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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Entries in Soundtracking (116)


Soundtracking: Toni Erdmann

by Chris Feil

Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann is one of the decade’s most exacting looks at depression and the human cost of the global corporate mindset. These two thematic points of view ebb and flow in and out of one another in the film as suddenly as the film’s comedy and tragedy do, showing the malaise of how we live today that’s symptomatic of impersonal capitalistic remove. It’s a state of being that is symbiotically personal and societal, desperately funny and deeply sad.

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Soundtracking: Documentary Now! - "Original Cast Album: Co-op"

by Chris Feil

In the recent weeks of losing both Hal Prince and D.A. Pennebaker, my mind naturally went to Original Cast Album: Company. As Pennebaker’s enduring documentary short detailing the backstage business of recording one of Prince’s peak creations, it provides moments worth obsessing over for Broadway obsessives and otherwise. So it feels serendipitously timed to celebrate them both that Documentary Now! arrived at the film in its most recent season. After all, sometimes the greatest tribute is parody.

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Soundtracking: Girlhood

by Chris Feil

“Shine bright like a diamond...”

I could (and have) go on ad nauseum about the cinematic relationship between music and the emotions of teenagers, how movies can embody and amplify the way music helps mold our sense of self in youth. But of all the recent films as keyed into this, none of them shatters the fourth wall for empathic purposes as Céline Sciamma’s coming-of-age tale Girlhood. Here she uses the already momentous track “Diamonds” by Rihanna to its own iconic end, embodying female togetherness and the spirit of youth that once made us all feel infinite.

It’s one of the most singular and ecstatic movie moments of the past decade, certainly an essential scene as people begin to reflect on the movie decade...

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Soundtracking: Southland Tales

by Chris Feil

Recently resurfacing with repertory runs of its original catastrophic Cannes cut, Richard Kelly’s notorious Donnie Darko follow-up Southland Tales plays like the most bizarre time capsule. It captures not only a specific ideological moment in the timeline of post-9/11 anti-Bush anxieties, but it also captures the aura of MTV in its dying days as a culturally dominant force. For the uninitiated: imagine a Nashville porn parody peppered with internet conspiracy theories and set to the Pixies, then edited for television. It doesn’t all work by a long shot but it’s kind of awe-inspiringly out there, and at its best when it realized that it’s really meant to be an opera.

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Soundtracking: Tarantino's Best Song Cues

by Chris Feil

A new Tarantino film brings with it a new batch of expected side dishes: takedowns, hyperboles, talk of Oscar potential. As for the content of the film itself, Quentin Tarantino never fails to deliver a distinct musical prowess along with the zippy dialogue and ironic violence. A dancing Leonardo DiCaprio and a groovy Margot Robbie from the trailers already promise that Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood will be no exception. Before we get to that film, let’s look back at the best song cues from Tarantino’s films...

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Soundtracking: (500) Days of Summer

by Chris Feil

Ten years removed, looking back at (500) Days of Summer is not unlike looking back at an old relationship. It’s a movie about earned perspective that in turn some of us look at much differently than when the film first wooed audiences. It’s like a strange artifact from a bygone time. Remember when we thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel would be huge? Remember when its love story was more widely considered a coming of age story instead of a “dude, grow up!” movie.

The film itself captures a nostalgia for something than never existed, embodying the kind of young male mindset that wants to will a great love into existence without having to see the real person. But the element that works best to reveal a film that has that perspective in mind, one of the things that also made (500) Days of Summer a movie Of The Moment, is its catchy soundtrack. Remember Feist?

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