Harpist Mary Lattimore and guitar/synthesizer player Jeff Zeigler premiered their score for the 1968 French film Le Révélateur at the renowned Ballroom Marfa’s annual silent film program in 2013. Although created as an intentionally silent work, director Philippe Garrel endorsed showing the film with every subsequent performance of the score.
Lattimore and Zeigler’s score powerfully conveys isolation, despair and awakening, amplifying sentiments portrayed in the film. Le révélateur, meaning the processor of images, in the film is the small boy who is given voice through the rhythmic and inventive harp performance and through emotive melodica lines, eerie synth and guitar. Together, the duo creates a soundscape that perfectly matches the film’s progression as it follows the boy’s journey from a family’s dysfunctional home life into a godless post-apocalyptic landscape. Lattimore and Zeigler’s music becomes tense and rigid during scenes of desolation, switching only briefly to a soaring major key during a moment of hope. The two act as musical révélateurs, reflecting the protagonist’s own wordless process. The resulting soundtrack is a journey through fear, joy and solitude, mirroring the boy’s willful act of distancing himself from his parents into autonomy and independence, armed literally and metaphorically against the oppressive and implacable forces of human nature.