Adapted from a short story by David Constantine, Andrew Haigh's new film 45 Years is about a complacently happy married couple, Kate (Charlotte Rampling) and Geoff (Tom Courtenay), whose lives are thrown into disarray when the long-lost body of Geoff's first love is discovered in the Swiss Alps, frozen and unchanged after decades in a glacier.
A beautifully told, quietly moving two-hander about an unexpected marital crisis, 45 Years features wonderful, lived-in performances from its leads, and further confirms Andrew as one of Britain's most talented film-makers. Ahead of its release in cinemas and on demand from 28th August, the writer-director has put together an exclusive playlist of songs for Oh Comely, inspired by and included in the film.
Given that 45 Years doesn't feature a score, its sound design and use of music is crucial. Andrew told us about his process of selecting music: “Most of the music choices were in the script. I was trying to have songs that reflected the past and parts of their character.” He mentions a key song from the film, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by The Platters, which Kate and Geoff had played at their wedding. “I love their choice for their first dance, because really when you listen it's unclear whether it's a happy song or a really melancholy one. I've heard it being played at wedding parties before and thought, wow, I'm not sure if that's super romantic.” Andrew relates this idea to another song the couple like in the film, Go Now by The Moody Blues: “It has the perception of being romantic but then when you listen to the lyrics you think, 'my god, really?' I find that juxtaposition in music really interesting: that something might have the sense of being a romantic song but the truth behind the lyrics mean something different.”
45 Years: A Playlist Curated by Director Andrew Haigh (available on Spotify)
I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire - The Ink Spots
Remember (Walking in the Sand) - The Shangri-Las
Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
The Old Man's Back Again - Scott Walker
Stagger Lee - Lloyd Price
I Only Want to Be With You - Dusty Springfield
Tell It Like It Is - Aaron Neville
Happy Together - The Turtles
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - The Platters
Go Now - The Moody Blues
45 Years is released in UK cinemas and through Curzon Home Cinema on 28th August. You can listen to the exclusive playlist here.
Photos: Agatha A. Nitecka.