Cecilia Crespo | OnCuba
The American renowned composer and record producer Robert Kraft returns for the third time the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema to share his experiences with Cuban professionals and students. He will teach on Monday and Tuesday the workshop in Music in Cinema: Process and Techniques at the Mozart’s Lyceum in Old Havana.
About his experience in melodic production for movies, the musical advisor for films like Avatar, Titanic and Moulin Rouge said: “In the contemporary audiovisual, film without music is almost impossible, because the sound is able to suggest – even describe – action, romance, humor, sadness, desolation.” He expressed his love for Cuba, and in particular by our sound heritage, for here – in his opinion – the music flows like water, so sharing his knowledge with country artists is not a matter of business, but of feelings.
Why do you admire Cuban music?
Cuba has great musicians, really admirable and exceptional as my friend Chucho Valdes, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito de Rivera, Celia Cruz, and Mario Bauza, among others, and even many who do not know and I would love to discover. I am very interested in the Cuban sound in its films I’m slowly discovering in all the visits I have made to this beautiful country.
Do you know the music for films made in Cuba?
Unfortunately I know very little, because I believe that in Cuba despite being incredibly talented musicians and formidable films they have not yet reached the necessary level in line with what I know you could make. That’s one of the reasons I’m here to put my knowledge to the service of learning for all those in need. Beyond my love for this island, I want to work for the good composers and performers in the world with their work here can give you a genuine sound films made by talented Cuban directors. I know the work of Edesio Alejandro and Leo Brouwer, but I think Cuba and its musicians can give much more in this regard, due to the great talent they possess….
What differences are there between a musician and a film composer?
I think there is a big difference between being a great musician and being a good film composer, not every good musician can get to composing for films in a right way, and it’s like painting walls in incredibly beautiful homes but is unable to sketch a picture. Being a film composer is practically being the narrator of the story from the sound part. The musicians have to learn to control his subordinate ego, somehow the creative interests of the principal, so that everything flows perfectly into the film from their perspective and reinterpret what the writer wanted to convey with your text and photographer with their planes provided under the baton of director who is ultimately responsible.
Why do you return to the Festival to share your experiences with Cuban professionals for the third time?
I love this city, Cuba and its music. For me as a professional is a great honor to visit and cooperate with this country, which to my colleagues is the glory for its great musical history because Cuban music is for world musicians of great and fascinating.
In your opinion, what should a good soundtrack have?
First of all the composer must empathize with the story of the film to narrate from music. Then be aware that music is the best of the movie to be so and is supplemented by other elements and expressive resources that make up the material. In my case, I feel the music and I think that in the films that I make has to be the best thing to do and stick with undeniable skill. I strive for that and those who work with me know it and are also aware that I know it’s good music I composed, though it may seem pretentious.
What do you think about the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema?
I would like to see more films and more Americans can come to enjoy this feast of the Latin American seventh art and elsewhere too. If I could make a suggestion I would like to include as many English-language films, for the Cuban public to appreciate them, even a festival of Latin American cinema, or at least subtitles to understand them beyond their soundtracks.
What is for Robert Kraft a movie without music?
For most of people movies are some pictures with some music that complement them. In my case everything is completely different, I understand the film in a different way and for me this is music with some pictures and a story told primarily determined from its sound. Music makes you feel sad, nervous, in love and you do not understand why, and sometimes do not even realize, but the melodies draw you in that direction subconsciously. I cannot imagine even imagine a movie without music.