FÖRGÄT MIG EJ – Måns Saari Jonsson

The appearance of a music box in a movie rarely bodes well, and this appears to hold true for Förgät mig ej, a Swedish drama which has what appears to be supernatural overtones. Written and directed by Måns Saari Jonsson, Förgät mig ej (Forget Me Not) focuses on Emma, a young doctor who works at a children’s hospital and who has just returned to work after a family tragedy. She befriends young Timmy (owner of the music box) who has just lost his parents in a car accident. When Timmy mysteriously vanishes in the middle of the night, Emma must search the deserted corridors of the hospital in an attempt to find him.

Förgät mig ej is a low budget independent film and, as well as writing and directing, Jonsson has also composed the music, providing a strongly thematic score that is infused with sadness and beauty. Jonsson’s ambitious score features five or six thematic ideas that are woven together to create an aural tapestry that goes to the heart of the relationship between nurse and boy. Timmy’s theme is introduced in the album’s opening track, “Timmys speldosa”, as a music box melody. Significantly, (and somewhat unsurprisingly) the melody fails to finish, and we know for sure that things are not going to go well. Jonsson adapts the theme throughout the score by breaking it up into smaller fragments and using a variety of different orchestrations including stilted piano (“Morgonmötet”) and strings (“Flickan som hoppade”). Towards the end of the score there are some effective statements of Timmy’s theme on strings and accompanying solo soprano voice that creates an ominous and dramatic tension.

“Emma” showcases two more main themes. A solo violin gives a strong statement of the nurse’s beautiful theme that conveys the underlying sadness of the character, and then we hear a full statement of the Södergård Theme. Doubling as the theme for the children’s hospital and the score’s main theme, the Södergård Theme is the score at its most energetic with piano and strings playing over a quick-tempo piano line. As with Timmy’s theme, both these themes appear throughout the score in many different guises. The inclusion of a soprano voice in with the latter theme is particularly lovely (“Södergårds barnsjukhus”). Additional musical ideas include an ominous, sustained tone on low strings for the hospital warden (“Den försvunne föreståndaren”) and an additional theme for Timmy and Emma that represents the bond that develops between them (“Timmy Och Emma”). “Den försvunne föreståndaren” is the first hint that something is going wrong when we hear hints of dissonance in a solo voice. From this point on the previously-established themes are accompanied by devices such as dissonance in the strings (e.g., “Inte ensam”, “Skepnaden”) and low tolling piano chords (“Timmy försvinner”). Together, all these various elements come together to make an interesting score. After a middle passage dominated by a sense of suspense and malevolence the score ends with several tracks that offers a dramatic interplay between the 3 major themes that provides a musical resolution to the story. This ending is emphasised by a final statement of Timmy’s music box melody which, this time, plays to a conclusion (“Minns oss”).

Förgät mig ej is a score that is well worth seeking out both in terms of the lovely themes created and for how the composer weaves the various thematic elements together to create a memorable whole. The complexity of how these themes are used in the score does have one disadvantage though, especially if the listener hasn’t seen the movie. I feel that some of the meaning of the musical choices will have been lost by not having seen the movie. Also, the score is (deliberately) tied to the music box melody and this limits the composer’s choices musically. This may explain why many of the tracks begin with the same chord in the strings which does become noticeable after a time and can be a bit repetitive for the listener. But these are only minor quibbles. Förgät mig ej represents only the second feature film that Jonsson has scored and, based on this score, I look forward to his future projects.

The album can be purchased HERE or at other online stores as a digital download.

Rating: ***/*****

  1. Timmys speldosa (0:48)
  2. Emma (2:32)
  3. Morgonmötet (2:40)
  4. Södergårds barnsjukhus (1:26)
  5. Trasig pojke trasig speldosa (3:12)
  6. Blomsterkransar (2:29)
  7. Skymning (0:32)
  8. Han hette Erik (1:16)
  9. Att förlora ett barn (1:18)
  10. Den försvunne föreståndaren (2:24)
  11. Strömavbrott (1:27)
  12. Timmy försvinner (1:46)
  13. Flickan som hoppade (1:46)
  14. De blå blommorna (1:26)
  15. Inte ensam (2:22)
  16. Krelk (3:44)
  17. Skepnaden (1:14)
  18. Barnet och blomvasen (1:32)
  19. Valium (0:30)
  20. Dörren är öppen igen (1:02)
  21. Den avstängda avdelningen (2:26)
  22. Tystnad (1:54)
  23. Förlåt (0:38)
  24. Gryning (1:44)
  25. Emma tar farväl (1:58)
  26. Minns oss (2:04)
  27. Timmy Och Emma (0:58)

Running Time: 47:14

Måns Saari Jonsson (2019)

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