Original Review by Alan Rogers

In Hidalgo: La Historia Jamás Contada, we see Miguel Hidalgo remembering moments of his life from his jail cell. A Mexican priest, Hidalgo is best remembered as a leader in the Mexican War of Independence against the Spanish colonial authorities. This film focuses mainly on his tenure as a parish priest in a small town, having been sent there at the order of the church authorities because of his progressive ideas. He translates and produces Molière’s stage play “Tartuffe” (a play that echoes Hidalgo’s own problems with the church) as the parish priest. Filmed by Mexican director Antonio Serrano, he calls upon fellow Mexican Alejandro Giacomán to score this personal story.

To be honest, if the music is any indicator of the pace of the film then it’s quite a slow film. The orchestral score (played by the San Luis Potosi Symphony Orchestra), particularly in the first two-thirds, is cue after cue of ominous and suspenseful music that is dominated by low strings. The music’s role here appears to be more to set the scene of the film rather than provide themes. Only occasionally is the feel of the music lifted with the inclusion of solo instruments. Tracks such as “Casa Grande y Abandonada” and “Transgresión” feature solo flute that brighten the tension and “Nerviosismo Antes de Molière” has an interesting interchange between different sections of brass and woodwinds. Track 10, “Despedida del Rector”, is the first real heartfelt highlight of the score and we hear solo brass and woodwinds providing an emotional quality that builds to a powerful and almost optimistic climax to the cue. It is not until the final third of the orchestral score that we hear music that is particularly cinematic. The music opens out, including more and more sections of the orchestra to instil both drama and emotion, putting aside the long string lines and ostinatos and becoming more thematic and uplifting. [Read more…]