Written by Talia Feder, Video by Michael Read

Ever wish you could have someone follow you around with a guitar and score your life? Think of Seu Jorge playing Bowie songs in The Life Aquatic. These films use music to elevate the drama and fill in emotion when dialogue isn’t enough. Sometimes only an epic swell of music can express a feeling that helps the viewer relate to the character; or the epiphanic moment when all is understood; or the fear, happiness, suspense, excitement, elation, heartache, hilarity, that pulls us into the film world and transitions us from spectator to participant. Enjoy watching and listening!

I am Not a Hipster
“I’m just waiting for happiness to become cool again,” confesses Brooke, an aloof singer-songwriter based in San Diego’s independent music scene. Surrounded by unaware hipsters and channeling pain into music, Brooke comes to terms with his grief when his sisters and father visit to spread his mother’s ashes. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, music by Joel P West, and featuring original song performances.
Favorite track: “Black Bay” by CANINES

Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench
Academy Award® winner Justin Hurwitz scored this debut feature by Damien Chazelle before going on to win the Oscar® for best original score for La La Land. Jazz equals life in this beautiful modern musical set in Chicago. Boy meets girl, dance numbers, heartache, boy tries to win girl back, and all that jazz.
Favorite track: “Boy In the Park” by Justin Hurwitz

Metal meets Vikings in this Icelandic drama. Featuring a soundtrack of classics by Megadeath, Judas Priest and Riot, a young girl witnesses the death of her metal-obsessed brother. Flash forward ten years and she is still coping with her pain, finding herself in a community whose conservative beliefs clash with her metal persona. Music by Pétur Ben.
Favorite track: “Svarthamar” by Pétur Ben

Ruined Heart
First of all, watch the trailer. The criminal, the lover, the music. Notorious Filipino director Khavn de la Cruz teams up with cinematographer Christopher Doyle to create the ultimate lovers on the lam film (Bonnie and Clyde on speed). Described by the creators as "a punk rock opera with music at its very core." Music by Brezel Göring.
Favorite track: Ruined Heart by Khavn featuring Bing Austria

In this feel good comedy, an 11-year-old Waihou boy uses his imagination to contend with real life. When his Nana leaves for a trip, he assumes the role of parent (his mother died) until his ex-con father returns. Finding the balance between idolizing his Dad (writer-director Taika Waititi) and accepting him for the complete dingbat that he really is, Boy realizes that life isn’t about the hero but all the ensemble players. Did I mention the Michael Jackson dance scene? Music by The Phoenix Foundation.
Favorite track: “Pass the Dutchie” by Musical Youth


See the full list: SOUNDTRACKS TO LIVE BY