Annette (dir. Carax)...Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard...Sparks!

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I seriously cannot wait for this:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EA-wQEoXYAACc-B?format=jpg&name=large

Per IMDB: "A stand-up comedian, and his opera singer wife, have a 2 year old daughter with a surprising gift."

Sparks is absolutely the linchpin for everything for me here, admittedly. I kinda see it as the inadvertant long-game payoff to the 1970s Jacques Tati collaboration that never was, Confusion:

https://dangerousminds.net/comments/when_sparks_met_comedy_genius_jacques_tati

Ned Raggett, Friday, 2 August 2019 17:22 (two years ago) link

wtf?

Οὖτις, Friday, 2 August 2019 17:24 (two years ago) link

Sparks posted this two months back:

What’s up in Sparks’ world, you ask? Oh, just a little recording session with Adam Driver. ✨#Annette pic.twitter.com/KJ6750Mx4V

— SPARKS (@sparksofficial) June 14, 2019

Ned Raggett, Friday, 2 August 2019 17:25 (two years ago) link

holy shit

Simon H., Friday, 2 August 2019 17:46 (two years ago) link

As recently as a few years ago they were still trying to get the seduction of ingmar Bergman filmed. Like Ned I’m all in for sparks x carax although I really can’t envision it. I loved their bit in the forbidden room but that was one song

2019OK plus bennu (wins), Friday, 2 August 2019 22:58 (two years ago) link

I seriously cannot wait for this:

Oh yes you can! Gonna be another year at least i'd say.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 3 August 2019 00:12 (two years ago) link

it's in pre-prod... make that 2021

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 3 August 2019 00:14 (two years ago) link

two months pass...

A report from the field:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/10/28/adam-driver-the-original-man

In September, I met Driver in Brussels, where he was shooting “Annette” on a soundstage. He plays a failing comedian; his wife, played by Marion Cotillard, is an opera singer on the rise. To ease the resulting tension, they take a sailing holiday with their baby, Annette, and get caught in a storm. That day’s scenes took place during the squall. In one corner of the studio, half of a life-size sailboat was mounted ten feet high on a gimbal, a mechanism that would toss and turn the boat like a mechanical bull, while a cyclorama projected a tempestuous curved backdrop around it. Sprinklers would unleash rain and fog, while water cannons spewed waves. Also, the film is a musical, so there would be singing.

Carax, the director, smoked a cigarette in his sunglasses, as Driver and Cotillard emerged from a pair of black makeup tents. They rehearsed the scene in which Driver draws Cotillard into a drunken waltz on the sailboat’s deck. He mocks her theatrics (“Bowing, bowing, bowing”), and she pleads with him in song (“We’re gonna fall, gonna die”), before he flings her offscreen. The film’s co-writers, Ron and Russell Mael, known from the seventies band Sparks, watched on a monitor. “We spoke very briefly to Adam about three years ago, just about the style of his singing,” Ron whispered to me. “We didn’t want it to be Broadway, you know?”

More at the link etc

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 04:26 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Film has wrapped:

Russell and Ron with #Annette cast member @simonhelberg.

In other news, principal photography of #LeosCarax’s ANNETTE is a wrap! ✨

Polaroid photo by #AdamDriver 📸 pic.twitter.com/usBnoizRTS

— SPARKS (@sparksofficial) November 22, 2019

Ned Raggett, Friday, 22 November 2019 23:57 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

Trailer is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=068aFF8fOIA

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Monday, 19 April 2021 13:58 (five months ago) link

After Holy Motors, I have no idea what to expect, and in that regard I'm glad the trailer doesn't make it any more clear.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 19 April 2021 14:08 (five months ago) link

uh wow yes please

intern at pepe le pew research (Simon H.), Monday, 19 April 2021 14:12 (five months ago) link

I think I was expecting something more low-key from Carax and Sparks, maybe a feature-length version of the video for "Singing in the Shower".

Halfway there but for you, Monday, 19 April 2021 14:22 (five months ago) link

Gonna rule

Ned Raggett, Monday, 19 April 2021 14:43 (five months ago) link

The world hasn't returned to normal until we get film maudits from major filmmakers opening in-person Cannnes.

avatar of a kind of respectability homosexual culture (Eric H.), Monday, 19 April 2021 14:44 (five months ago) link

Carax sure loves his amours fou. (100% on board with this obv)

one month passes...

First song here

"SO MAY WE START"

The lead single from the forthcoming Sparks-penned movie musical #ANNETTE is out now! ✨

Watch the official lyric video for the song: https://t.co/UrL05zNz6E pic.twitter.com/xPLACzlb01

— SPARKS (@sparksofficial) May 28, 2021

Ned Raggett, Friday, 28 May 2021 13:53 (three months ago) link

if you asked me to imagine a throat-clearing opening number to a movie musical written by Sparks, this would be pretty close to what I had in mind

intern at pelican brief consulting (Simon H.), Friday, 28 May 2021 13:59 (three months ago) link

four weeks pass...

And another song out

“WE LOVE EACH OTHER SO MUCH” — the 2nd single release from the Sparks-penned movie musical #ANNETTE is out now!

Vocals by Adam Driver & Marion Cotillard. ✨

Listen now: https://t.co/PkHVRx1BrZ pic.twitter.com/8bVpiKMTLG

— SPARKS (@sparksofficial) June 25, 2021

Ned Raggett, Friday, 25 June 2021 16:44 (two months ago) link

Some more details on the making of the film in this piece:

https://www.vulture.com/2021/06/sparks-band-interview-the-sparks-brothers-and-annette.html

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 27 June 2021 02:28 (two months ago) link

the key details from that piece:

Annette is almost entirely sang through, and its plot involves a quasi-magical child, which in the finished film is played by a puppet. (Those who have seen it say that musically, the Sparks album it most resembles is 2002’s Lil’ Beethoven, which sees the brothers experimenting with repetition.)

ufo, Sunday, 27 June 2021 06:59 (two months ago) link

Which, perfect! I love that album.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 27 June 2021 12:08 (two months ago) link

Oh la la, les Sparks à Paris ✨#Annette pic.twitter.com/hVGdX5yY66

— SPARKS (@sparksofficial) July 1, 2021

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 1 July 2021 17:44 (two months ago) link

I absolutely need the heist movie starring these six now.

The cast & crew at the #Annette photocall: Leos Carax, Ron Mael, Marion Cotillard, Russell Mael, Simon Helberg, and Adam Driver #Cannes2021 pic.twitter.com/8tmdpv8qWJ

— Adam Driver UK (@AdamDriverUK) July 6, 2021

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 6 July 2021 14:20 (two months ago) link

Haha yes

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Tuesday, 6 July 2021 14:21 (two months ago) link

The crusty getaway driver, the brains, the ex-Interpol agent, the moneybags, the computer guy, the muscle.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 6 July 2021 14:34 (two months ago) link

Meantime

Marion Cotillard praises Adam Driver for being able to sing while simulating oral sex in ‘ANNETTE’.

This would make Adam Driver the first actor in movie musical history to sing an original song whilst performing cunnilingus.

(Source: https://t.co/cZ8xIrL5Ey) pic.twitter.com/iYWiBCjpPR

— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) July 6, 2021

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 6 July 2021 17:28 (two months ago) link

We are on Minute 5 of the ANNETTE standing ovation and Adam Driver has begun smoking a cigarette pic.twitter.com/F56r0W0nGL

— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) July 6, 2021

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 6 July 2021 21:37 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

Well.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 20 August 2021 19:35 (one month ago) link

I wanted to like this but it's too long, all the songs are bad except the first one, and I resent being asked maintain interest in a story that is not much more than "talentless shithead murders his wife and feels bad about it, takes it out on his daughter".

Jaime Pressly and America (f. hazel), Saturday, 21 August 2021 07:12 (four weeks ago) link

As I’ve been saying elsewhere, absolutely fascinated how divisive the film is even among Sparks fanatics. (One friend was very down on it and then saw it a second time and called it a masterpiece.) My canned take is that years back for a piece I called their song “Moon Over Kentucky” a Nelson Eddy/Jeanette Macdonald operetta if it was a horror movie directed by James Whale and that is pretty much _Annette_.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 21 August 2021 13:26 (four weeks ago) link

It's kind of a shame, because while Carax is so not prolific it's hard for me to really call myself a fan, per se, I did absolutely love "Holy Motors," but every instinct in my body is telling me to avoid this.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 21 August 2021 13:36 (four weeks ago) link

I will certainly see this, although one potential problem with this film is that someone who you are willing to spend three minutes with (in one of Ron Mael's "character songs") is not necessarily someone you want to spend two hours watching.

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 21 August 2021 13:48 (four weeks ago) link

I said elsewhere that this could be Sparks' Lulu - where they get national attention for one moment and attract widespread hatred (as opposed to the hatred of the cognoscenti that they thought was their lot).

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 21 August 2021 13:51 (four weeks ago) link

The biggest shock: Adam Driver with shorn hair.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 21 August 2021 13:53 (four weeks ago) link

I wouldn't really want to listen to an album of the songs (and I like most of Sparks), but despite sections that dragged (not sure if it was Ann's songs or Cotillard's performance, but I found those numbers uninvolving) it had surprising pathos in the end — at least, it affected me in ways I wasn't expecting. Mind you, I had no real sense of what it was about going in and was expecting lighter fare, despite some familiarity with Carax.

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Saturday, 21 August 2021 14:49 (four weeks ago) link

The total lack of Denis Lavant forced me to watch Beau Travail afterwards.

Jaime Pressly and America (f. hazel), Saturday, 21 August 2021 15:57 (four weeks ago) link

As I’ve been saying elsewhere, absolutely fascinated how divisive the film is even among Sparks fanatics. (One friend was very down on it and then saw it a second time and called it a masterpiece.)

Definitely divisive, but I do think the reaction among Sparks fans and critics alike has been quite a bit more positive than negative. I don't see it becoming "Sparks' Lulu" at this point, though I was worried something like that could happen when the initial reviews started rolling in.

That said, I'm one of those Sparks fanatics who didn't really care for the movie. Hoping that'll change on a second viewing, but my take for now is pretty close to f. hazel's upthread. I wouldn't say the songs are bad, just that lyrically I found them lacking for the most part.

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Monday, 23 August 2021 15:30 (four weeks ago) link

I enjoyed the film with several caveats. Too long, back half less interesting both musically and plotwise than the first half. It's too good to call it an interesting failure, not good enough to call it great. Both the leads are good, Driver in particular. That guy can do a lot of things.

The scene in the stadium is one of those bravura moments of weirdness where I was like, I can't believe this is actually a real movie.

Same response. He -- Carax or Driver, take your pick -- doesn't know when to quit.

I thought most of the songs sucked, which might be the point idk

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 23 August 2021 15:41 (four weeks ago) link

Only a few of the songs made any impression on me while they were happening, and I don't really remember any except the opening number.

better/more rewarding upon multiple viewings! the music is good. too much adam driver and too long. i like that puppet!

kurt schwitterz, Monday, 23 August 2021 17:39 (four weeks ago) link

The puppet looks like the Little Drummer Boy from the 1968 stop-motion TV special

Jaime Pressly and America (f. hazel), Monday, 23 August 2021 17:49 (four weeks ago) link

I watched around a half hour of this. There wasn't anything I connected with or was interested in.

adam t. (abanana), Monday, 23 August 2021 22:57 (four weeks ago) link

I distrust anyone who says that about Driver's abs.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 23 August 2021 23:09 (four weeks ago) link

I enjoyed the film with several caveats. Too long, back half less interesting both musically and plotwise than the first half. It's too good to call it an interesting failure, not good enough to call it great. Both the leads are good, Driver in particular. That guy can do a lot of things.

this is all otm. i'm not a big sparks fan or anything but their sense of humour really came through in a way i found very entertaining, which made up for the plot being not that compelling overall

ufo, Sunday, 5 September 2021 02:57 (two weeks ago) link

This absolutely divided everyone I came to see it with. Some really disliked it, others thought it was a masterpiece.

There were multiple walk outs in the screening I attended, some within 20 minutes of the start.

That whole protracted stand-up routine towards the beginning made me think of Scott Walker's 'SDSS14+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)', and I wonder if there was a connection there, seeing as Scott provided the soundtrack for 'Pola X'.

Me? I have a very high tolerance for self-indulgent art wank. I enjoy Sparks and I enjoyed Holy Motors well enough, although I wouldn't say I'm a mega-fan of either.
Unfortunately I also have a very low tolerance for the operatic form of people singing dialogue at each other and narrating the action as it's happening.

So while I tried to admire Annette for all its good points, it was also a great workout for my toes which curled and curled and curled throughout.

The others who came to the cinema with me were equally split. Some were taken with the film's deft limning of stardom, parenthood, lucre and child exploitation. Others just couldn't get past lines like "We're going round the world" sung over and over again while the cast are literally flying on a private plane.

I came in expecting perhaps a bit more contrast between light and dark, considering Sparks' oeuvre. It's certainly a playful movie, but for all its bonkersness it is bleak as all hell and rarely what I'd call "fun", ending on an remarkable yet surprisingly bummed note. (The wee girl though, crikey!)

I think I would have preferred this if it had been a silent movie with a score. I know this is partly to do with my intolerance of opera and the way the characters have to explain everything they're doing in song despite it being incredibly obvious from what's happening on screen. Maybe the songs could have been better? Sorry Sparks.

"This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us" remains a jam though

Urbandn hope all ye who enter here (dog latin), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 07:25 (five days ago) link

my favourite sparks album is lil beethoven which surely helped me to enjoy this

ufo, Wednesday, 15 September 2021 08:19 (five days ago) link

i went to the opening night show of this in NYC and Carax was in attendance, but not showing up until after the show to do a talkback and they had this dumbass photo op idea where they put green bathrobes (of the variety that Henry wears while performing) with an annette logo sewn into the left breast under every seat in the theater and instructed us repeatedly to put these things on at the end of the film so we can surprise Carax when he comes in. So you've got an audience of covid concerned people watching the premiere of this batshit musical and when we hit the credits, there's no applause, no chatter or response, just a ton of rustling plastic as everyone get dressed in the dark. Very weird! So they trot out Carax and he's pretty clearly a little ill or jetlagged or something and he refuses to acknowledge the audience's robes AT ALL, even after repeated prodding from the interviewer about how well dressed the crowd is, etc. His talkback was clipped and funny; someone asked if the death of cotillard's character was a reference to natalie wood and he hemmed and hawed for a moment or two and then just said, no not at all. Did that for a lot of the questions!

Anyways the film didn't really work and i think a good part of the blame is on driver, who was great! But also deeply limited with his singing voice! And tremendously not funny as a comedian! It just felt like the right actor doing the part with the wrong skillset to fully capitalize on a complex character. In any case, the plot is virtually gibberish. The music was extremely hit and miss but did the job well enough. I've gone back to "may we start" and "six women have come forward" quite a bit... as ufo just said, the super repetitive lil beethoven style songs certainly hit.

think “Gypsy-Pixie” and misspelled. (We are a white family.) (forksclovetofu), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 18:50 (five days ago) link

i do think it's worth a watch, especially if you're a fan of oddball musicals.

think “Gypsy-Pixie” and misspelled. (We are a white family.) (forksclovetofu), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 18:51 (five days ago) link

That whole protracted stand-up routine towards the beginning made me think of Scott Walker's 'SDSS14+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)', and I wonder if there was a connection there, seeing as Scott provided the soundtrack for 'Pola X'.

I like this comparison!

Anyways the film didn't really work and i think a good part of the blame is on driver, who was great! But also deeply limited with his singing voice! And tremendously not funny as a comedian! It just felt like the right actor doing the part with the wrong skillset to fully capitalize on a complex character.

I took Driver's not-funny edgy comedian as a metacommentary on a question The Sparks Brothers addresses (if not all that insightfully): why do people write off an act for being "merely" funny? The film pushes comedy into a darker place than Sparks usually go (on the surface, anyway), asking what it would have meant for them to court greater acclaim, mystique, or controversy -- and, in the process, attempting just that, albeit keeping the band themselves slightly in the background.

The humor question dovetails with the contemporary critique of toxic masculinity. I'm not sure to what extent accusations of misogyny have dogged Sparks ("smarm" is the slur I remember from one of the old record guides, Rolling Stone's or maybe Christgau's). It's certainly evident in many of their character-driven songs and might be taken as in earnest. The only thing the Maels said was off limits for the documentary was their romantic relationships. The cover-of-Gratuitous-Sax-tabloid joke about this would be that they concealed a lifetime of abusive behavior, except that it probably wouldn't be a very funny joke, even if it was patently absurd (much as the songs on e.g. Big Beat are not particularly funny).

Putting it a bit differently: somebody wrote that Sparks' central theme is the stupidity of masculinity. This is a moment where that stupidity seems to have particularly dire consequences, and where it's increasingly difficult to conceive of what a positive idea of masculinity would be. Maybe spending your life hanging out recording clever songs with your brother, touring occasionally, just trying to get a movie off the ground? No harm done trying to turn a child into a project, a validation of self? Redemptive sublimation!

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 21:52 (five days ago) link

Christgau said (in a Talking Heads review!): "Like Sparks, these are spoiled kids, but without the callowness or adolescent misogyny". I didn't think that was fair when you can flip any Sparks lyric around so that the male protagonist is the object of the joke.
The only lyric I can think of written from a female perspective (before they wrote songs for Christi Haydon) was "Thanks But No Thanks", which is also an implicit critique of masculinity.

Halfway there but for you, Thursday, 16 September 2021 00:41 (four days ago) link

I definitely do not get callow misogyny from Sparks unless it's with tongue firmly in cheek like in "Under The Table With You"

Urbandn hope all ye who enter here (dog latin), Thursday, 16 September 2021 15:04 (four days ago) link

"...With Her" I should say

Urbandn hope all ye who enter here (dog latin), Thursday, 16 September 2021 15:05 (four days ago) link

Anyway, this movie was cool. The puppet is gross to look at and I hated it.

the 45-year-old gaz coomber (Whiney G. Weingarten), Thursday, 16 September 2021 15:08 (four days ago) link

Yeah “throw her away” & “young girls” spring to mind immediately

There’s nothing misogynist about “under the table with her” tho, not even ironically

siffleur’s mom (wins), Thursday, 16 September 2021 15:17 (four days ago) link

Yes, that song seems like one of their most warm (although written from a non-human perspective)?

Halfway there but for you, Thursday, 16 September 2021 15:45 (four days ago) link

It’s not written from a non-human perspective either!

siffleur’s mom (wins), Thursday, 16 September 2021 15:48 (four days ago) link

It’s about 2 kids sitting under a table having slipped under unnoticed by the adults, what are all these wild readings

siffleur’s mom (wins), Thursday, 16 September 2021 15:49 (four days ago) link

The protagonist is a dog!

Halfway there but for you, Thursday, 16 September 2021 15:52 (four days ago) link

No, they yelp & are mistaken for a dog

siffleur’s mom (wins), Thursday, 16 September 2021 15:53 (four days ago) link

As is the girl whose hair gets patted

siffleur’s mom (wins), Thursday, 16 September 2021 15:54 (four days ago) link

“Dinner for 12 is now dinner for 10” did they set a place for the dog?!

siffleur’s mom (wins), Thursday, 16 September 2021 15:54 (four days ago) link

I guess I took that line as the dog being fed at the same time that dinner was served. Now the song seems completely devoid of any point.

Halfway there but for you, Thursday, 16 September 2021 16:10 (four days ago) link

“People all around the world are having only rice & tea/Two of them should come & take the place of Laura Lee & me” there are two unoccupied places at the table, belonging to the children “diminutive offspring” who are playing under the table and not missed by the adults because there are “bigwigs there”

It doesn’t seem devoid of point to me even tho there’s no big twist, it’s just sweet and humorously written

siffleur’s mom (wins), Thursday, 16 September 2021 16:21 (four days ago) link

The bigwigs are so lofty they fail to notice the animalistic sexual depravity going on between the singer and guest because they don't recognise them as human. It's Histoire de l'Oeil in 2.20 minutes.

Or probably not.

Urbandn hope all ye who enter here (dog latin), Thursday, 16 September 2021 16:26 (four days ago) link

Edgar Wright's commentary on the soundtrack album reckons it's ambiguous. As an aside, he says Sparks were disappointed how well-received Queen's subsequent forays into chamber-pop was compared to their own.

Urbandn hope all ye who enter here (dog latin), Thursday, 16 September 2021 16:29 (four days ago) link

anybody want to buy an annette bathrobe? i have two.

I mean they are specifically described as children (offspring) so I don’t see the ambiguity. I guess the kids could be having sex? Maybe with a dog? Is that the theory? Is this a bit?

I do love it, one of my very favourite of theirs

siffleur’s mom (wins), Thursday, 16 September 2021 16:35 (four days ago) link

Annette was fine

siffleur’s mom (wins), Thursday, 16 September 2021 16:36 (four days ago) link


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