July 26, 2021

“Annette” by Léos Carax in opening, a black and luminous musical comedy

Discovered at Critics’ Week in 1984 with Boy Meets Girl, then in competition with Holly Motors in 2012, Léos Carax opened the 74th Cannes Film Festival and launched the competition for the Palme d’Or. With Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, Annette is released in theaters the same day as its official screening on the Croisette, Tuesday July 6, between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Musical based on a screenplay by Ron and Russell Mael, who form the rock duo Sparks, Annette is a separate work, just like its director.

Henry, successful comedian, forms with Ann, famous singer, a celebrity couple in the limelight. The birth of their granddaughter Annette, with her exceptional voice, will turn their lives upside down when the child becomes a star.

Pandemic obliges, Léos Carax, selected in 2020, waited a year to present Annette at the world’s largest film festival, canceled last year. We had to wait nine years, after Holy Motors, to find behind the camera this regular of the Croisette, figure of an iconoclastic cinema. Interpreted by Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, associated with the cult band Sparks in music, the cast is too good, with a rise in the steps of stars. The film is up to the task, off the beaten track, romantic and romantic, dark too.

Faithful to his labyrinthine narratives and his sophisticated images, Léos Carax films a 2.0 melodrama, the neo-romantic chronicle of a couple of artists who tear each other apart, dynamited by the birth of their child prodigy. Henry is jealous of the success of his partner Ann, going so far as to scuttle himself in a new suicidal spectacle, as she, secured by fame, tries to reassure him. Literally puppet, like Pinocchio, their daughter Annette is a toy in their hands and those of the media. Her miraculous voice manifests her vital energy, but, still a baby, she remains a doll manipulated by those around her. It was not until the last scene of the film that she took her independence, when, having become more mature, she criticized her parents in a monologue full of lucidity and poignantness.

The film thus refers to all the child stars, from Judy Garland to Britney Spears, who is currently in the headlines to free himself from fatherly tutoring. But in subtext, Léos Carax concocts a moral tale on the vanity of the artist confronted with the talent of others. Beautifully illuminated with refined images, without being ostentatious, the film conceals the customary elegance of the filmmaker, despite its short lengths. The music dominates, with the exception of rare and short dialogues. Inventive, it remains nonetheless classic in the compositions and orchestration of the musical genre. So this is not where we will be the most surprised. Annette Already marks a date in the filmography of Léos Carax, as a success in the delicate art of the sung film, and as a work in its own right.

Delayed one year for its release, Annette opens an extraordinary 74th Cannes Film Festival. Other films suffered the same fate, such as Benedetta de Paul Verhoeven, ou The French Dispatch by Wes Anderson, both eagerly awaited. With 84 feature films in the official selection, instead of the customary sixty, and seven French films in competition, whereas there are usually five, this selection augurs well for the richness and quality of two years of international film production that has remained in the The drawers.

But will the world’s leading film market, the backbone of the festival, be as abundant as in previous years, due to the pandemic and the constraints of air transport? What impact will the health protocol have on festival-goers, professionals, journalists, and the public who flock to the doors of the Palace every year, while the rooms will have no limited capacity? So many questions that Franceinfo Culture will try to answer, from Cannes, during this stammering deconfinement.

Poster of "Annette" of Léos Carax (2020).  (UGC DISTRIBUTION)

Genre : Drama / Musical
Director : Leo Carax
Actors : Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg, Rila Fukushima
Pays : France / Mexico / United States
Duration : 2h20
Exit : July 6, 2021
Distributor : To life

Synopsis : Los Angeles these days. Henry is a stand-up comedian with a fierce humor. Ann, an internationally renowned singer. Together, under the spotlight, they form a happy and glamorous couple. The birth of their first child, Annette, a mysterious girl with an exceptional destiny, will turn their lives upside down.