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Strawberry Days by Hanan Townshend (Review)

posted Jun 2, 2017, 12:02 PM by Kaya Savas

Strawberry Days tells the story about a Polish immigrant coming to Sweeden with his family to work as strawberry pickers on a farm. The boy falls in love with the farmer’s daughter, and as their love grows in secrecy things start to get complicated especially once the parents discover what's going on. The drama focuses on class relations and prejudice and is accented by a beautiful score from Hanan Townshend.

You might recognize Hanan Townshend as being Terrence Malick’s recent go-to composer. However, I find that Hanan’s voice shines a lot more on projects where he doesn’t work with Malick, where he doesn’t have to compete with classical pieces. Strawberry Days is one of those scores that truly show the powerful storytelling power of his music.

The score successfully dips its two feet in different buckets. One placed into an intimate acoustic realm heavily dominated by piano and another into electronic textures that work under the surface. The juxtaposing sounds work wonderfully together, and in some cases you’ll be in a trance with the beautifully melodic piano that paints the romantic backdrop of the strawberry fields and then feel your emotions pull back and become reserved when things become more textural. The way the whole score is structured works very well, and it does such a magnificent job of building this love between the two characters while showing turmoil creeping into it.

In the end, Strawberry Days is a beautifully simple score that hones in on the core emotions of the narrative with great precision. The use of the lush piano makes the music immediately jump out and capture you as an audience, it cradles you while making your heart flutter like the love you witness on the screen between the two characters. Then the score successfully lets turmoil and doubt seep into the story while keeping the structure all the way to the end. This is another fantastic effort from Hanan Townshend that proves to be a real gem from this tiny Swedish film.