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The Butterfly's Dream by Rahman Altin (Review)

posted Nov 13, 2013, 5:22 PM by Kaya Savas

The Butterfly’s Dream is a stunning film about two poor poets living in Turkey at the start of World War II. Their life journey finds them both diagnosed with tuberculosis, and both falling in love with women in their lives. This very much mirrors their poetic view of life and love. The film is stunningly acted, shot, written, edited, directed and scored. It’s a film that calls back to the golden age of Hollywood with a story that is truly universal, and a true story at that. Composer Rahman Altin scored this moving film, and his music was the heart and soul of it. The score was the perfect accompaniment to the narrative, and it painted a rich organic human story underneath it. The score is a masterful one, and it’s a musical body of work that establishes Rahman Atlin as one of the best musical storytellers working today.

The somber opening of the score is a perfect way to establish the lives and times of our characters. We are also introduced to the central theme, which is present throughout the score. What the music immediately does is establish the fluttering love of live that our main protagonists share. And that’s one thing about the characters and the music that I love so much. Despite hard times and uncertain futures, the characters and the music never lose this love of life. The beauty and pure innocence of the characters are always there, and that’s reflected musically. Then there’s the love side of the film, and there are journeys of love here. The warmth and nurturing aspect of love is matched with a playfulness as well. But the score never becomes overly sentimental or saccharine. And while you feel this constant passion for love and life in the music, you are also presented with times of pain and tragedy. The beauty is never lost though, and I think by constantly making even the tragedy of situations beautiful we see an even higher level of emotional resonance. The music also has a sense of yearning since the characters in the film are sort of trapped in their own skins, unable to fully grasp the lives they want. However, they are happy nonetheless just living life. The score is a wonderful translation of the poetic nature of our protagonists. The music is deeply moving, thematically fueled and emotionally resonating. It’s a masterpiece of a score.

The film’s own title, “The Butterfly’s Dream” is a perfect way to analyze the music. There is an underlaying fragility to the music just like a butterfly embraces. Then there is the dreamlike state of the music, which at times loses itself in its wisping beauty. Juxtaposing all these wonderful things with a sobering sense of reality makes The Butterfly’s Dream a stunning story of life and love. The score is perfect, and it is truly something that calls back to classic cinema in the best way possible. Rahman Altin’s thematic structure and emotional approach even remind me ever so slightly of how Ennio Morricone would approach a score. However, this score is purely his own voice and it’s one worth listening to.