On November 9th, the annual eight-day AFI FEST opened up its festival with a screening of hugely anticipated Netflix “Mudbound” just days before the official debut on November 17 in theaters and on Netflix. Directed by Dee Rees, (Pariah, HBOs Bessie) Mudbound is a gritty post-World War II drama co-written by Virgil Williams and Rees about two farming families and their relationship to each other and their land. Set in the rural South, the film stars Jason Mitchell Carey Mulligan, Jason Clark, Garrett Hedlund, and Mary J. Blige. Set in the Mississippi Delta, the period drama features a captivating score by Brooklyn-bred composure Tamar-Kali who was in Los Angeles this week promoting the release of the film.
Tamar-Kali discussed the making of the score and the importance of this film with Los Angeles Sentinel.
Los Angeles Sentinel: Describe your style as a composer.
Tamar-Kali: I come from a family of musicians; actually 2nd generation. My dad is a bass player and I grew up in a household where all kinds of music was played. In school, I participated in classical choir and was trained and educated in music composition; yet, as a performer, I found my voice in hardcore punk rock. I’ve been a musician since I was a child and I found my voice in different styles of music.
LAS: Describe the film for those that havent’ seen it?
TK: Mudbound is a beautiful testimony of our history, routing in the foundation of race relations. You’ll see two parallel moments being played out that closely relate to how we’re living right now.
LAS: What was your process in creating Mudbounds musical score?
TK: I came into the process during post-production, when the film was already in the can (complete.) We started writing the main theme of the film and then had several spotting sessions to see the best place for music to be included. Because the music is a character, it was dry and muddy as if stuck.
LAS: This is now your 3rd film with director Dee Rees, Tell us about her style of storytelling.
TK: Dee is a strong leader because she’s such a visionary who inspires you and respects your voice. It’s unique and I really cherish it. I look at how she’s developed and it’s always been about setting a standard of excellence. She hand picks her team and puts us all together, yet letting us do our thing. She knows what she wants and has a very distinct voice.
LAS: What were her instructions when she gave you the film to score?
TK: Dee has a clear vision and wanted lots of strings. Because she wanted scenes to feel very intimate and because the nature of the film was muddy and heavy she wanted strings and strings only. We were able to write around the actor’s performances and translate that in the music. You’ll have different reactions to this film depending on your lot in life but you’ll also be able to see someone else’s humanity. This film is epic and still independent.