'HUMAN': The making of the soundtrack


The realisation of the 'HUMAN' soundtrack: discover the backstage

Armand AMAR, Composer

French of Moroccan origin, born in Jerusalem, Armand Amar spent his childhood in Morocco. Mastering several instruments at the time considered exotic, he left home in his youth to meet that "elsewhere" promised by extra European music (now known as World Music).

Initially self-taught, Amar followed his dedication and thirst for life experience to practice the tabla, discover the zarb and learn the congas with various traditional and classical music masters.

In 1976, Amar discovered dance, upon the invitation of the South African choreographer Peter Goss, an anthropologist by training. Suddenly, what he was seeking was right there: a direct relationship with music, the power to improvise without constraints, the merit of exchange by direct experience onsite. Two parallel adventures enrich his palette: his involvement with the Acting School of comedian Patrice Chéreau and a teaching position on the relationship between music and dance at the National Conservatory of Music in France. He worked with a considerable number of choreographers belonging to all currents of contemporary dance (Marie-Claude Pietragalla, Carolyn Carlson, Francesca Lattuada, Russell Maliphant, etc.).

A syncretism of spiritual and musical influences is reflected in his movie soundtracks, here is a selection: 'AMEN.' (2000), 'The Axe' (2005) and 'Eden is West' (2009) by Costa-Gavras, 'The Concert' (César Award for best soundtrack in 2009), 'Live and Become' (2006), and 'The Source' (2011) by Radu Mihaileanu, 'Outside the Law' (2010) and 'Days of Glory' (2006) by Rachid Bouchareb, 'The Maiden and the Wolves' (2008) and 'You'll be my son' (2011) by Gilles Legrand, 'Sagan' (2008) and 'For a woman' (2013) by Diane Kurys, 'What the Day owes the Night' by Alexandre Arcady, 'HOME' by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (2009), and 'Free Men' by Ismaël Ferroukhi (2010).

Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Armand Amar

The collaboration between the two artists did not start yesterday.

In 2009, Armand Amar composed and signed the 'HOME' soundtrack, which a year later earned him the award of the IFMCA best original score for a feature documentary.

On television, he accompanied Yann for 5 years, from 2006 to 2010, in his show 'Earth from Above'.

In 2012, he also composed the soundtrack of 'Planet Ocean', a documentary directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot.

So, it is only natural that the director asked his friend to compose and sign the 'HUMAN' soundtrack in 2015.

Music, a universal language, transcends our emotions, sublimates images and brings rhythm to a story. Almost inseparable from images, it has always had a prominent place in the work of Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
Armand Amar’s compositions strongly emerge as adding value to the diversity and the richness of 'HUMAN'. Through the prism of his creations, the composer magnified the voices of the People and of the Earth. Singers and musicians from all over the world joined to create a musical landscape of overwhelming eclecticism -- A full immersion in the heart of Humankind.

Both self-taught, Armand Amar and Yann Arthus-Bertrand enjoy seeking new horizons ‘elsewhere’ and improvising without constraints. They chose to shape this musical composition into an artistic entity that grew and evolved in parallel, and entered into symbiosis with the filmed images.

"Traditional music captures me, touches me, as it bears a direct relationship with emotions. For 'HUMAN', my idea was to create a sort of sounding board for the interviews with a song that would deliver the same emotion. I wanted things to open up, the heart to open up, sorrow to open up, without restraint. 'HUMAN' was one of the few moments in my life as a music composer for movies where I could express all these different cultures: feeling so good both about this minimalist music and the interactions with all these musicians and singers from 'elsewhere'.

Which note came to me first? It was more a global vision, a universe in harmony with the movie, where it was a matter of sharing and interacting, this was my starting point. For me, the music l composed for the images of Mongolia summarises particularly well the universe that I wanted to evoke in this movie.

With Yann, I have a special role as a composer, different from that which other directors give me. There is a deep friendship between us; our exchanges are full of empathy. He is a generous person. His pretty fantastic instinct makes us get right on track; I could afford to give my opinion in the structuring of the movie, because I was in the middle of things, the first spectator."

Armand Amar

GoodPlanet Foundation
Credits: Story

Thank you:

Florent Gilard
Nuno Pires
Mélina Huet
Valentin Wattelet
Sterenn Hall


Véronique Jacquet
Florent Gilard

Music: Armand Amar

A GoodPlanet Foundation & Bettencourt Schueller Foundation Production in partnership with the Google Cultural Institute

Credits: All media
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