Rouge In Love is a 10-minute YouTube video directed by Evan Jackson Leong and Michelle Phan, starring Michelle Phan who plays a girl visiting Paris where she comes to the aid of an unknown guy who falls at her feet after having been seen fleeing from an unknown peril. What then transpires is the usual boy meets girl, boy loses girl and then boy trying to find the girl again. At its heart, the film is a love story and it calls for an effective, romantic score particularly as – save for one single word – the film has no dialogue. The directors turned to talented composer George Shaw, who succeeds in giving the film an emotional heart with a lushly romantic score for string ensemble and piano that is based around a strong main theme.
Shaw’s theme is first heard right at the outset as a sparse statement in the opening track, “Single Status Update”. It’s a short track (lasting only 20 seconds) but the theme is so strong that it immediately grabs the attention. It is heard again in the next cue, “Win A Trip To Paris”, but this time it is accompanied by a piano countermelody that sits alongside the theme, adding an emotional depth. These two tracks – as it turns out – are not taken from Rouge In Love but are, in fact, from a “prequel” companion film, The Sweetest Thing. This latter film documents how Phan’s character ends up winning a trip to Paris. A quote of the theme on accordion then a full statement on strings and piano signal her winning the competition. Then a statement of the theme on celeste as we see Phan standing by a particularly ornate Parisian building adds a fairy-tale quality to the scene. “Win A Trip To Paris” highlights how Shaw moulds his versatile theme into several different forms by varying both orchestration and tempo to achieve the desired effect. A versatility in the music is particularly important in a film such as this: one that is so heavily reliant on the music (remember, there is no dialogue). However, some may find that, upon viewing the video, the music is a bit over-the-top in terms of signposting what’s happening on-screen (e.g., the appearance of accordion music when we see the Paris competition poster, fairy-tale music for the dream trip to Paris, etc. is an obvious example). Read the rest of this entry »