Thursday, December 9

‘Annette’, tale of songs, laughter and torment | Culture

Denis Lavant, moving through the streets one step away from the unco-town hall and to the rhythm of the Modern Love by David Bowie, in the prodigious Bad blood (1986); the feast of fireworks, with the Blue Danube with Johan Strauss in the background, and Lavant and Juliette Binoche, drunk with passion, in the masterpiece Lovers of the Pont-Neuf (1991); the apotheosis of the accordions, also commanded by Lavant and of increasing intensity, in the form of ecclesial traveling after the suicide intermission Holy Motors (2012). The films of Leos Carax, baptized from the beginning as the enfant terrible of French cinema, they have always exploded in the form of musical downloads of wide impact. So it makes perfect sense that he ended up writing a musical: the formidable Annette, tale of songs, laughter and torment about love and death, creation and desolation, ego and martyrdom, envy and courage, passion and abuse, family fatherhood and artistic fatherhood. And it has done so from the hand of the American cult group Sparks, born in the seventies, of continuous experimentation, and with the operatic seal as its main hallmark.

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Brothers Ron and Russell Mael, members of Sparks, are the authors of the original idea for the film and the songwriters. But Carax, of course, is not satisfied with illustrating the issues in images. It adds a patina of eccentricity and innovation, of aesthetic taste and courage, in keeping with a filmography like yours: with droppers but with an indelible mark, even in its failures, as in the most interesting X fields (1990).

It is Annette a work with hardly any text that looks like (almost) nothing. Perhaps in his concept he can connect with certain rock operas, especially with Tommy (The Who / Ken Russell) y The Wall (Pink Floyd / Alan Parker). But it transcends both because its stamp is also very anchored in the particularities of the classical musical, with the graphic composition of pictorial inspiration of the different elements in the shot, with their expressive unity, and with the exteriorization of the internal state of the characters through of the songs. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the story, Sparks and Carax describe the dark, egotistical, domineering, envious, cruel and even criminal side of certain men in their relationships, and of a world capable of exploiting its heroes both on their peaks and in its sinkholes. Adam Driver, also a co-producer, and Marion Cotillard, his protagonists, do a majestic physical and vocal task. And the rest is provided by the wonderful work of inventiveness, art and technique with the baby, and with the two subsequent girls, who are already part of the history of cinema.

A voice in off invites us in the first minute of footage to hold our breath before what is yet to come. A sign of absolute confidence in the worth of the work of some creators who, according to that same voice, can be vain. Maybe they are, but there are good reasons for their safety as artists. His film, winner of the best director award at Cannes, is a conquest.

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