“For many years the music of Sonia Wieder-Atherton has been a part of my life.
More exactly, it has been so since the release of the original sound-track of Chantal Akerman’s fine film “Stories of America” with its illuminating Jewish songs, profound and deeply human works.
I am unable to write a scene without music and with each film a specific musical work has guided me, inspired me and given set the tone for what I wish to do.
In writing “Marie Heurtin” it was immediately evident to me that it would be to interpretations of music by Sonia Wieder-Atherton. I knew that I did not want traditional film music which traditionally supports an emotion or the repeated rhythm of the scenes.
Early on I realized that in this story, with its absence of words and the creation of a new language, the language of hand signs, the cello would be an interior voice, a chant alternating between pain and ease, lament and consolation, sweetness and violence.
It would be an intimate music, a music of the soul akin to an ap-peasing caress.
I knew exactly which pieces I would put with each scene and occa-sionally while filming I rehearsed with the music. Isabelle Carré while acting out the scene of Sister Marguerite passing out in the vegetable garden, drew great inspiration from Sonia’s interpreta-tion of the lieder of Gustav Mahler. The choice of music adhered immediately to the scenes, even helping in their construction.
It remained to present the film to Sonia Wieder-Atherton! Suffice it to say that I was nervous: what would happen if she did not like it or if she did not find the choices of music judicious? Happily, she was moved by the choices. For her, the music in the film offers the viewer a moment of peace during which he or she can breath and withdraw into themselves, without her ever being illustrative. A magical marriage between the film and the music, as if they were made for one another…”
-- Jean-Pierre Améris