I saw the lovely movie Junebug (director Phil Morrison) last night. Wonderful film with great acting, direction, editing, writing. The music credit reads “original music by Yo La Tengo”, the indie group. And there was a song of theirs in the opening credits and at the end credits and then maybe 2 other music cues, which actually sounded like something out of a stock library. And then…silence.

The story is of a Chicago art dealer (played by Embeth Davidtz) who goes to a little town to sign an outsider artist and meets her new in-laws. There are these great shots of the neighborhood in a semi-rural location somewhere outside Chicago. And they are shown in complete silence. There are several sequences using this silent “score” to convey the emptiness in the neighborhood, the house of where her husband grew up and the community.

In many indie films, I usually feel like the dramatic action could have used some underscoring. Or worse, the song choices used instead of an original score take too much attention away from the story.

Here, the silence was so loud. Stunning and effective. Sort of like a John Cage score…Silence by Yo La Tengo.

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