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Annette


Andrew
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So, this is fabulous, audacious, with terrific music and a particularly impressive performance by Adam Driver.  After reading Evan's review, I'm kicking myself for not giving it 5 out of 5 stars.  My main ding against it was that, for a film concerning itself with female representation in the arts, it focused overmuch on Adam Driver's character.  But his comments about Carax's major stylistic choice and female agency really lifted this film in my estimation.

Since Edgar Wright's Sparks documentary earlier this year, I've been immersing myself in the music of the Mael brothers.  They're quite capable of witty, rapid-fire wordplay (to wit, wordy odes to the missionary position, a song about onomatopeoia, and another tune that manages to rhyme hippopotamus, Hieronymous (Bosch), Volkswagen autobus, and Titus Andronicus), but they focus on instrumental complexity here instead.  They meld rock, hip-hop, Broadway musical, and various classical styles effectively (including Romantic, post-Romantic, Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, and John Adams' Nixon in China).

Carax's Holy Motors would probably make my Top 50.  I'm not sure yet if I love this one quite as much, but I can't see a Best of 2021 list where this doesn't make my Top 3, in a year with several very impressive films.

My full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2021/08/annette-a-musical-most-wonderful-and-strange/

 

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great review, Andrew! And thanks for the shout-out. This will almost definitely be my favorite film of 2021, and certainly top three.

My review can be found here: https://catholiccinephile.wordpress.com/2021/08/13/annette/

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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Posted (edited)

And this only improved with a second viewing.  The opening song foreshadows nicely what is to come, which is only amplified by the echo line of "True Love Always Finds a Way."  "We Love Each Other So Much" is intentionally shallow, underscoring the peril of heedless infatuation.  And the closing song is quite the gutpunch after all that's come before.

By including his own daughter in the opening studio scene, Carax is clearly stating that we need to do better with our female roles in entertainment, that it's no longer ok to depend on the feminine martyr trope.  It's analogous in my mind to so many horror movies, where you can guarantee that the Black supporting actor will offer themselves up as a sacrifice for the white leading actors.  (As I understand it, one of the major horror releases this year appallingly did this yet again.)

Thanks to the evil overlord Jeff Bezos, it's possible to watch and rewatch the joyous opening minutes of this film on repeat on Amazon Prime.  Which I've been doing.  And will continue to do.  It's my favorite film opening in recent memory.

Edited by Andrew

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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