Vocabulary: “Journey”

A term that denotes a way of organizing events in a temporal structure. It thus belongs in the same category as Playfulness. Although these productions do not necessarily follow a strict narrative structure, there is nevertheless a logic underlying the events, which is geographically motivated by the movement of the camera within the digetic world. A path is constructed along which the camera moves, which leaves room for experimentation with acoustic and visual symbolism.

Case 1: ‘Temps Perdu’ and ‘Lifeline’

‘Temps Perdu’ (2014) by Femke De Bruyne and Annechien Strouven

‘Lifeline’ (2013) by Aiko Devriendt and Eline Vanderbemden


In both films a very simple, almost absent narrative structure is used, which involves the movement of a character along a straight line (a road and the trajectory of a lifetime, respectively). This makes it very easy for the spectator to follow what happens, and creates room for the composers and filmmakers to focus their attention on mood creation, symbolism and character profilation. Visually the straight line dictates a continuous movement without strong shifts in dynamics, speed or intensity.


In both cases the music progresses as a sequence of short scenes with different atmospheres, a bit like a chain structure.

In Temps Perdu, during the first phase the flat trajectory of the bike is reflected in a modest rhythmic continuity. During the second phase, as the trajectory becomes steep, this changes into an active, disparate sonic texture by the use of rhythmical contrast. Finally, as the top of the hill is reached, a synthesis of both is created and the rhythm becomes more regular, albeit more vivid compared to the beginning.

In Lifeline the melodic-rhythmic material is treated in a minimalist, repetitive way, which results in a sequence of small melodic cells that are repeated within a continuous acoustic texture. Almost as if looping techniques were used, this repetition brings the listener in a sort of trance.

Case 2: ‘Complexity’ and ‘Fing’

‘Complexity’ (2014) by Lieven Casters, Alice Patsellis and Dani Velasco

‘Fing’ (2014) by Marko Ivic and Bart Lindeman


In both films a more complex spatial path is created that nevertheless has a function similar to that of the linear path. The spatial coherence, and more specific the fact that the camera moves along a logical geographic path, is the only element that provides the spectator with a sense of comfort. It accordingly creates space for expermientation with imagery derived from different art forms.


Because in both films the spatial coherence is maintained through the journey metaphore, the composers can take the liberty to move away from a supportive role and let the music tell its own story. In the case of ‘Fing’ this leaves room for improvisation which is not often done in classical film score writing), and in the case of ‘complexity’ this leaves room for experimentation with minimalism and with the combination of classical and industrial music styles.

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