Broken Flowersis an independent film by director Jim Jarmusch. The main role was written for Bill Murray, who is a superlative and well established actor. Murray, who plays the role of Don Johnston, finds himself alone once his girlfriend leaves him. Having wealth from a successful career, Don feels empty and often sits alone with a bottle of Moët & Chandon. One day he finds that a pink letter has been mailed to him by someone who claims that Don is the father of her son. Don gives the letter to his neighbor, Wilson, who fancies activities that deal with deciphering codes and playing detective. Wilson finds much interest in the letter, unlike Don. He finally gets Don to agree to make a list of all the names of his former girlfriends and their addresses and find out which one of them had his child. Not to spoil this brilliant film, Don goes through a journey that will leave you speechless. The soundtrack to this film reflects the plotline perfectly as it includes various genres including classical, rock, metal, reggae, and Ethiopian music.
The first track “There Is An End” by The Greenhornes Feat. Holly Golightly, is a perfect introduction to the silhouette of the beginning scenes of the film. Golightly’s vocals work well with the surf-tinged guitar riffs. This is one of the highlights of the album. The next track, “Yegelle Tezeta” by Mulatu Astatqé, is the first track featuring Ethiopian music. This track has a wonderful groove that is apt to the atmosphere of Don Johnston going on his travels as he searches back into his past. “Ride Your Donkey” by The Tennors, is a fun reggae song that fits well in the film. “I Want You” by Marvin Gaye, is a classic, warm track that works well with all the relationship issues between Don and his former girlfriends. “Yekermo Sew” by Mulatu Astatqé, is another Ethiopian delight that has a smoky and mysterious sound quality. “Not If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth” by The Brian Jonestown Massacre, breaks the flow of the album since it is one of the loudest songs. Yet, the track works well with all the confusion in the film. Holly Golightly returns with another elegant and warm track with “Tell Me Now So I Know”, which was written by frontman of The Kinks, Ray Davies. “Gubelye” is another fun track with Mulatu Astatqé. “Dopesmoker” by Sleep is another loud song that is ferocious. “Requiem, Op. 48 (Pie Jesu) By Gabriel Fauré” performed by Oxford Camerata, is a beautiful masterpiece that really illuminates the character of Don and reflects his overall attitude. “Ethanopium” written by Mulatu Astatqé and performed by Dengue Fever, is a great smoky play of the Ethiopian music in the film. “Unnatural Habitat” by The Greenhornes, is the last track, bringing the album to a closure with its soft beginning and gradual climatic guitar riffs. It serves as the track used to portray Don’s flash like images of his girlfriends and the expression on their faces when he sees them. Their expressions obviously leave Don pensive about their feelings and trying to discover which one of them had his child.
This handpicked soundtrack by the director is very suitable to all the dynamics present in the films. The contrasts that occur, for example, between Gabriel Faure’s “Requiem” and “Dopesmoker” by Sleep, show all the various layers within the film. The Ethiopian music gives a delightful touch to the flow of the film as Don is traveling in his car. The soundtrack is a great collection for anyone, yet it would not do it justice not to watch the film. The film is a very vital asset that gives these songs different meanings, which in turn can help understand the various moods of the film.
- Amirata Mahallati