Tag Archives: European music

The cinema of Walerian Borowczyk and music of Bernard Parmegiani


De Natura Sonorum (1975) by Bernard Parmegiani


Sometimes I can’t even remember just how I stumbled upon something. Maybe it was a suggestion by YouTube that brought me into contact with Bernard Parmegiani maybe it was something I was reading. I just can’t trace it. However it may be, I stumbled upon Parmegiani simultaneously with his connection to Walerian Borowczyk. Parmegiani did the soundtrack for at least three of Borowczyk’s films: Les Jeux des Anges (1964), Docteur Jekyll et les femmes (1981) and Scherzo infernal(1984). I’d seen Scherzo before but I had not seen Les Jeux des Anges[1] nor the Jekyll film. You can watch the Jekyll film over at YouTube[2] in an English version with Dutch subtitles.

Neither had I seen that holy grail of transgressive cinema The Beast  (way up there with Le Sexe qui parle by Claude Mulot and The Image by Radley Metzger, both from the same year) which you can see here[3] in a dubbed Spanish version. An uncut version, it appears. You can read its British censorship history somewhere online, it’s extensive. Both Docteur Jekyll et les femmes and The Beast are obsessed with large beast-like phalli. In the case of Jekyll ripping open the abdomen of its victims, in the case of The Beast as seen in copulating horses (with gorgeous shots of dripping horse vulvae) and of a bear-like-constantly-ejaculating huge hammer-shaped penis raping and making love to Sirpa Lane.

As for Parmegiani’s art music. I listened numerous times to the incredible piece De Natura Sonorum[4] (1975) which is really remarkable at being soothing while appearing chaotic. I can’t get enough of it. Caribou mentions it in his Caribou 1000 and apparently it has been of some influence on Aphex Twin. From what I know of him, that may be true.

Finally, at 4:40 of Chants Magnétiques[5] (1974) you can hear ASMR bits. For those of you unfamiliar with ASMR, it stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. ASMR-sounds are sounds that give goose bumps and cold chills.