Notre-Dame on Fire (Simon Franglen)

Jean-Jacques Annaud's "Notre-Dame Brûle", or "Notre-Dame on Fire", released in France in the spring of 2022, thought it has not received distribution in the States yet. The film is a disaster drama, recounting the fire that occurred at Paris' famed Notre-Dame cathedral in April of 2019, showing the bravery of the fire rescue team that fought to control the damage to the famous landmark, and save many of the pieces of treasured religious artwork stored inside. Annaud uses a combination of recreations of the disaster (filmed at other similarly-designed cathedrals), as well as some real news or found footage of the actual day interspersed to plug in gaps in the narrative. The film doesn't create much of an expanded narrative or give much character development, but the fire itself is stunningly captured, and the experience keeps you on the edge of your seat, as well as selling the cultural and spiritual significance of the cathedral to the people of France and the world. 

Joining the adventure is composer Simon Franglen, who along with last year's "Avatar: The Way of Water", really cemented himself as a rising composer of note. Director Annaud's films have always featured excellent music, having worked with composers Gabriel Yared, Philippe Sarde, Stephen Warbeck, and John Williams--but his most frequent collaborator was James Horner, so it is lovely to see Horner's long-time collaborator continue his legacy here. Franglen's score is built around a strong main theme, that can be equal parts rousing and noble, as well as heart-breaking. While his action music has a much more notable electronic presence than Horner might have had, his dramatic music carries plenty of heart that makes this a rewarding musical journey. 

Sony Music/Milan Records released the score album on CD and digital. I chose to change the credits and text into English. The title font seems to be a custom one, but it is a lovely font, so I choose to vector-trace and recreate it, and then edit those existing letters to create the "On Fire" part in English (there was a much more modern looking Canadian title treatment created in English, but I far preferred keeping the original style). I ended up using red quite often as a drop-shadow color, which is a quite odd choice with white text, but I kinda liked how it played here with the color palette and helped subtly add to the fiery tones. 

Several of the pieces of poster art share elements between them--the close-up on the praying fireman, the wider shot of the fireman in front of the blazing fire. I thought they were all dramatic, so I kept most of them. Cover 5 is for the Dolby Cinema release and offers a more atmospheric style, while Cover 2 is a edit of the official poster and album cover, though I changed up the text credits a bit, and used a higher-quality version of French political cartoonist Plantu's (and centered it slightly more). Not too much else to say, the edits were relatively simple, other than having to clone out text in a few places and figure out the new compositions. 

Hope you enjoy, and curious which is your favorite cover from the bunch.

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