Soundtrack Scene: Infinitely Polar Bear

infinitelypolarbearsoundtrack

Maya Forbes’ Infinitely Polar Bear, which played at Sundance and Toronto last year, hits select locations across the United States on June 19. Forbes enlisted her sister, Pink Martini frontperson China Forbes, to compose a song for the drama, a semi-autobiographical account of their manic-depressive father, played by Mark Ruffalo.

China says of the songwriting experience:

“I wrote ‘The Northern Line’ in a London hotel room on my son’s toy ukulele. Maya asked me to write a song about a train. I had just taken the Northern Line of the tube to see my cousin and I have always found poetry in that title. Mania is like a runaway train. Depression is a train off its track. I really understood my father and his struggles and I am so happy I could contribute this joyful and wistful song to my favorite film: Infinitely Polar Bear.”

“The Northern Line” also appears on the film’s official soundtrack, which includes the score from Theodore Shapiro. It hits digital outlets on June 16; its CD equivalent drops on June 30.

The press release:

(June 8, 2015 – Los Angeles, CA) – Lakeshore Records will release the INFINITELY POLAR BEAR – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack digitally on June 16 and on CD June 30, 2015. The film is a very personal, semi-autobiographical story from writer/director Maya Forbes.

INFINITELY POLAR BEAR is about a manic-depressive mess of a father who tries to win back his wife by attempting to take full responsibility of their two young, spirited daughters, who don’t make the overwhelming task any easier. “When I was six, my world imploded. My father suffered a series of manic breakdowns and my parents separated as a result,” described Maya about this incredibly intimate film. “My sister and I were sad and furious and ashamed of the way we lived. And yet, in the end, it worked. We became our own version of a family — just like so many families out there who survive, and even thrive, in unconventional ways.”

Maya would reach out to her sister, Pink Martini frontperson China Forbes, to contribute an original song for the soundtrack. “I wrote ‘The Northern Line’ in a London hotel room on my son’s toy ukulele,” China described. “Maya asked me to write a song about a train. I had just taken the Northern Line of the tube to see my cousin and I have always found poetry in that title. Mania is like a runaway train. Depression is a train off its track. I really understood my father and his struggles and I am so happy I could contribute this joyful and wistful song to my favorite film: Infinitely Polar Bear.”

The album also features songs lovingly curated by music supervisor Randall Poster, a friend of Forbes, with songs from George Harrison, Brenton Wood, Jerry “Swamp Dogg” Williams, Elvis Perklands in Dearland, and the film’s original score by Theodore Shapiro (MARLEY & ME, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY).

“Maya has a great instinct for songs. Using music to amplify and humanize the family dynamic at the core of Infinitely Polar Bear,” said Poster. “We collect in the film a unique combination of songs that along with Teddy Shapiro’s magical score plant us in time and place, and set a place for us at the table of these lives. Maya put so much of herself into the film and it’s the songs I think that help her find that safe place from where this story comes alive.”

Composer Shapiro agreed. “When Maya and I began working on Infinitely Polar Bear, she had a very clear and helpful direction: whatever form the music took, she wanted it to underline the idea of family,” he described. “Although the family that this story is about has a father who has bipolar disorder, the family is defined not by mental illness but by a messy, chaotic warmth.”

Track Listing:
01. Run Of The Mill – George Harrison
02. The Oogum Boogum Song – Brenton Wood
03. A Fool In Love – Ike & Tina Turner
04. Your Man – Jerry ‘Swamp Dogg’ Williams
05. Doomsday – Elvis Perkins in Dearland
06. The Northern Line – China Forbes
07. Your Long Journey – The Doc Watson Family
08. Down By The Riverside – Snooks Eaglin
09. Jonah, Come Out The Wilderness – Roaring Lion with Cyril Monrose String Orchestra
10. Amen – The Brentford Choir
11. Kung-Fu Picnic – Theodore Shapiro
12. Hole In The Floor – Theodore Shapiro
13. Depressed – Theodore Shapiro
14. The Pick-Up Game – Theodore Shapiro

A Sony Classic Pictures release, Paper Street Film and Park Pictures present, in association with Bad Robot and KGB Media, INFINITELY POLAR BEAR in theaters June 19, 2015. Lakeshore Records presents INFINITELY POLAR BEAR – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to be released digitally on June 16 and on CD June 30, 2015.

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