Annette (2021)

LEOS CARAX

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

//USA////, 2021. , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Story and Screenplay by , . Cinematography by . Produced by , . Music by Ron Mael, Russell Mael. Production Design by . Costume Design by , . Film Editing by .

Nine years after his spellbinding Holy Motors, Leos Carax once again invites us into his mystical, intoxicating world of doomed romance. This time he sets the action to the tunes of the Sparks Brothers, whose concept album has been turned into a screenplay that begins with the newly formed passion between post-modern comedian and opera singer ; as with all of Carax’s atmospheric efforts, their paparazzi-encased romance is mixed in with other love affairs, between the director and the art of cinema, between the screen and the audience, presenting various forms of artistic expression and multiple layers of reality as erotic couplings that carry you smoothly through a capricious narrative like a gentle ocean wave. Driver and Cotillard, at the height of their passion, give birth to a child who is portrayed through most of the film by a computer-generated marionette (then concludes with an incredible performance by in human form), and as the child wordlessly observes her parents’ relationship grow brittle, Cotillard begins to doubt her trust in a man whose unpredictable edges have given way to self-destructive despair. , once again putting his piano skills to use on film, acts as Greek chorus as he supports the couple through their worst times without realizing that he is standing too close to a dangerous situation. The Sparks’ music, tuneful and capricious, creates an Umbrellas of Cherbourg feeling of expressive jazziness in a darker key, beautifully accompanying the stars’ glamour and Carax’s inky, beautiful images that are often accented with points of neon light. For some, the film will be an exercise of overwrought shallowness, there’s not as much depth to the characters or their emotions as there is to the actual expression of those emotions, this is a film where the aesthetics are its substance, but it does so with expertise and flair.

Cannes Film Festival Award: Best Director (Leos Carax)

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