Q & A with sound mixer Marcel Duvenage

We caught up with Woodwind’s sound mixer and recordist Marcel Duvenage, who shares his insight on the most important aspect on the fiction feature, the power of sound and music.

Question: Do you relate to Bonifaz’s passion for recording the sounds of nature?

Marcel Duvenage: I definitely relate to that part of Bonifaz’s character, in that I often walk around with my portable recorder in nature, capturing sounds for hours and getting lost in another realty.

It is uncanny actually! I often go for hikes with friends and bring my recorder with me, I end up with my headphones, walking around, traversing the ‘soundscapes’. It’s just so easy to get absorbed while you have headphones on and you are taking in your environment predominately through your ears. One can get into a type of trance after a while, and when you take off your headphones it’s like you’ve been in an altered state, it’s almost like being in a state of meditation. I recommend that everyone tries this sometime. If we just stop for a while and listen, it really changes the way we experience our day.

Q: Coming from South Africa, what did you think of the soundscapes from India?

MD: I feel a true India unlike a hyper real TV commercial. The movie has a really diverse range of India from the loud and noisy streets, to the more rural village and forest areas, as well as the breathtaking Himalayas in a serene way, which I still can’t believe is real and not CGI. (Director) Fin Manjoo and (cinematographer) Nicolas Joray really have done an amazing job at capturing India in a unique and personal style.

Q: How challenging was the sound mixing you did?

MD: It took a lot of intense focus for each scene to draw in the viewer, blending in everything together to create a dynamic and intriguing soundtrack at the same time. The latter was especially important in this film because so much of the narrative is about sound being Bonifaz’s inner world. So, from a sound design perspective it was essential to create this world and the respective ambient spaces.

We were very careful while creating the scenes and I think subtleness was key. There’s also three really powerful, intense music performances which works really well. (The soundtrack composer) Stefan Fraunberger was amazing with the music he created.

Q: Tell us more about the music of Bonifaz and how it tells his story?

MD: The soundtrack is diverse and is great in expressing the complexity of Bonifaz’s character. The soundscapes equally help to bring the viewer deeper into what it is going on inside Bonifaz’s mind. I think that the diversity of the soundtrack creates a range of emotion and adds a level of sophistication to Bonifaz’s journey in the film.

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