Alexandre Desplat giving back in Berlin

Oscar nominee teaching masterclass at Talent Campus

BERLIN -- Alexandre Desplat says he lost a year of his life in 2009. The French composer has been working nonstop, delivering scores for films as diverse as Jacques Audiard's Oscar-nominated prison drama "A Prophet" to "Twilight" sequel "New Moon" to Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer" to Wes Anderson's animated feature "Fantastic Mr. Fox," which earned Desplat his third Oscar nomination.

Desplat is in Berlin mentoring up-and-coming filmmakers at the Berlinale Talent Campus, where on Wednesday he will give a masterclass on composing for the screen.

"The main word or formula I would like to tell them is that movie soundtracks have two axioms: function and fiction," Desplat told THR. "And if there is too much of one, the music goes into the wrong direction. There has to be function, because music for film has to match and work with what is on screen. But if there is too much function it becomes academic, boring. Fiction is there to bring action and creativity. It is a very difficult balance."

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It's fitting that Desplat has returned to Berlin, since it was the Berlinale that first recognized his musical talents back in 2005, when they awarded him the Silver Berlin Bear for best music score to Audiard's "The Beat My Heart Skipped."

"Berlin was the first, the very first to give me an award ," Desplat said. "I am eternally grateful to them. It sits on my desk -- the Silver Bear. All the others are stored away. It's the only one I look at. It watches me while I work."