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The Feelies Not Down With ‘Carlos,’ But Olivier Assayas Still Has A Killer Soundtrack To Epic

The Feelies Not Down With 'Carlos,' But Olivier Assayas Still Has A Killer Soundtrack To Epic

Three-Part Epic Features A Post-Punk Mix Of Wire, The Feelies, New Order & More

This writer finally caught up with Olivier Assayas‘ sprawling three-part epic, “Carlos,” starring the excellent Edgar Ramirez and centering on the rise and downfall of Ilich Ramírez Sánchez aka “Carlos The Jackal,” the international terrorist who menaced the world in the 1970s (this author also agrees most with our review from Cannes; it’s pretty engaging at first, but then tends to drag in its last half).

One thing our various reviews have neglected to mention is the film’s excellent soundtrack which features songs by an eclectic bunch of post-punk bands including Wire (who practically feel like they score the film itself), New Order and The Deadboys. But it wasn’t always meant to be this way. Evidently the herky-jerky, jangly-punk rhythm of ’80s American band The Feelies was supposed to anchor the film. But unfortunately, the band weren’t quite comfortable with their tunes being used in association with one of the world’s most famous terrorists.

“It was not my initial approach. Actually, I was using songs by The Feelies. There is still one at the beginning of the film,” Assayas told EyeWeekly recently. “The music fitted in really well so I ended up using a lot of their tracks. Then, at the last minute, the woman who was handling their rights contacted us saying, ‘Well, I know we’ve been negotiating this for two months, but we have a problem — the guys in the band have discussed this and they don’t want their music associated with terrorism.’ I said, ‘What do you mean? You can’t be serious.’ But she was serious. It was such a problem. We ended up managing to keep one song for a scene that did not involve any kind of terroristic activity. But I had to completely reinvent the whole score.”

While one Feelies song, “Loveless Love,” remains, and featured prominently in the film, Assayas rebuilt the score with tracks by angular post-punks Wire, rounding things out with contributions from the aforementioned acts and Robert Fripp & Brian Eno as well as the Lightning Seeds. It worked wonders with the film’s momentum and we must say, it’s one of the best uses of rock music on screen we’ve seen all year. It doesn’t look like the soundtrack will get an official release but you could create a pretty sleek and compact mini mixtape with the tunes from the film.

Here’s all the songs that were featured in the film.
YOLANDA – Pablo Milanes
AMALIA ROSA – Celestino Carrasco
PARAGUANA – Ali Primera
TEREBELLUM – Robert Fripp & Brian Eno
AHEAD – Wire
The 15TH – Wire
DRILL – Wire
HI’ILAWE – Tia Carrere
SAA MAGNI – Oumou Sangare
PURE – Lighting Seeds
JENRA – Davy Graham
DUNIYA – Tata Dindin
AMIR EL HOSN – Mohammad Wardi
MWASHAH – Hamza El Din

Meanwhile, check out our interview with Assayas, and a recent feature on his entire body of work.

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