The Spool / Interviews
Emile Mosseri on capturing amorphous time in his score for “Minari”
The composer discusses the film's long road to release, and the airiness of his score to Lee Isaac Chung's mesmerizing drama.
Read also: the best live TV streaming services with free trial>

Welcome back to the Spool’s weekly interview podcast, More of a Comment, Really…, where editor-in-chief Clint Worthington talks to actors, filmmakers, composers and other figures from the realm of film and television.

One of the most talked-about films of last year is Lee Isaac Chung‘s Minari, a scintillating, layered tale of a Korean-American family trying to chase the American Dream that’s racking up awards nominations all over the place — though admittedly, strangely in Best Foreign Film categories even though the film features American characters in an American setting.
It’s a highly personal film for writer/director Chung, who based a lot of it on his own upbringing growing up in rural America to Korean-American immigrant parents, and the strange liminal state he experienced there. In the film itself, that’s borne out in not just Chung’s direction, but its pitch-perfect cast, including Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, and Youn Yuh-jung.

But one of the film’s most unexpected pleasures is its delicate, airy score, courtesy of composer (and friend of the show) Emile Mosseri. Ever since his breakout a couple of years back with The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Mosseri has forged a mighty body of introspective scores that crackle at the edges of his film’s gentle psychologies. The last time we spoke, we talked to Mosseri about hopping onto the second season of Amazon’s podcast adaptation Homecoming to play off the first season’s paranoia-film needledrops. Here, he’s in much gentler mode, sotto voce vocals pairing with gentle pianos and woodwinds to dance around Minari‘s struggling family unit with all the curiosity of a childhood memory.

I got the chance to talk to Mosseri about the score and the film itself, both of which dropped on Friday. Plus, keep an ear out for an exclusive performance of a cue from the film’s soundtrack, “Jacob’s Prayer.”