"In cinema, the composer must enter into directors' world, but without giving up his own. This is the difficulty or paradox of music to image. By collaborating with filmmakers from a wide variety of backgrounds, by ricochet I think I have discovered a lot about myself. It helped me to progress, to explore territories that were not naturally mine. Cinema is a laboratory where I have sought to build new orchestral sets-up combining Corsican polyphonies, musicians from jazz, variety, classical, or even rappers. Like today's world, a fragmented world where all cultures mix." This is how Bruno Coulais, one of the most innovative composers of contemporary cinema, expressed himself during the tribute paid to him at the Cinémathèque de Paris.
In 1978, Bruno Coulais, young composer of concert works, discovered in film music an additional means of expression. A way of sharing with greatest number of people his writing demands. François Reichenbach, then Josée Dayan, Jacques Davila, Souleymane Cissé or Laurent Heynemann, first on television then in cinema, lead him into the discovery of this new world.
In 1995, he composed the music for Microcosmos. This initiatory journey on a centimetre scale is for him the perfect opportunity to reveal the full dimension of his writing. He injects into his score a strange lyricism, between wonder and fantasy, confirming the lesson learned from Reichenbach: to any documentary image, music brings a part of fiction.
The success of Microcosmos consecrates the musician and will make him the essential composer of other natural tales, notably alongside Jacques Perrin ( Le Peuple migrateur, Océans, Les Saisons...). Other long-term relationships will be established, in particular with Benoît Jacquot, with whom he has been working for more than a decade, not to mention Frédéric Schoendoerffer, James Huth and Jean-Paul Salomé.
In addition to major popular hits such as Les Choristes, Brice de Nice or Sur La Piste Du Marsipulami, it is hardly surprising that this insatiable curiosity has found the most inspiring playground into animation cinema, particularly through its collaboration with two exceptional creators, Henry Selick and Tomm Moore.
The first, American director of The Nightmare Before Christmas produced by Tim Burton, invites Bruno Coulais to compose in 2009 the magnificent score of Coraline (Oscar nominated film). 10 years later, he is about to meet him again for a new and beautiful adventure Wendell & Wild. For Irish director Tomm Moore, Bruno Coulais has already composed the music for two Oscar-nominated films, The Secret of Kells (2009) and Song Of the Sea (2014) and will write Wolfwalkers' score in 2020.
Whether it is a question of auteur films or mainstream films, Bruno Coulais keeps the same high standards, always envisages his art as a window opens on the world. Much less wise than he seems, he reveals a gift of a modern alchemist and a very personal way of mixing the most diverse cultures in a universal harmony at work.