An “Annette”, Adam Driver He is a stand-up comedian who draws an avid audience for his incisive and provocative humor; Marion Cotillard, a soprano who stands out in the world of opera. Both fill theaters, they are a magnet for reflectors. And when they make their love public, they become the main target of the paparazzi.
Then they will have a daughter who gives the name to the film, Annette, and from that moment the decline of the young, beautiful and talented couple will begin. A psychological and emotional breakdown which is narrated through songs, because “Annette” is a musical, but a rather dark one. Tragic and delusional rock opera that can throw off and even scare an unsuspecting spectator.
The forewarned, on the other hand, will know what to expect from a movie Directed by French Leos Carax (Suresnes, 1960), a filmmaker of love and violence, an irreverent esthete who for the occasion joined the American pop art duo Sparks (the brothers Ron and Russell Mael), in charge of writing and composing all the songs that make up the script for this film sung and choreographed.
“Annette”, however, has generated divided reactions. At the Cannes Film Festival, where it premiered this year, won the Best Director award. In contrast, much of the criticism has repeated like a catchphrase that it is a “minor Carax”. Here we disagree with this assessment, because although “Annette” may have some passages less successful than others, it exhibits them with the cadence of a musical, with its lows and intensities.
In fact, the film is gaining strength as it accommodates itself in its own strangeness and begins to generate a hypnotic complicity on the part of the viewer. This occurs in parallel to the decomposition of the characters of Driver and Cotillard, victims of their own fame, of the voracious ‘showbiz’ that chases them and pushes them to the limit.
It is also worth highlighting the figure of Annette ―in the film interpreted by means of a disturbing puppet―, which acts as a metaphor for artifice and the great spectacle that the audience consumes and applauds. There is a paradox there: we know that we are witnessing a parodic representation, but at the same time we are forced to accept it as natural. Annette is subject and object at the same time, person and instrument.
Carax’s “Annette” has certain reminiscences of the female collapse in “Rosemary’s Baby”, the failure and sociopathy of “The King of Comedy” and even the ideals and truncated dreams that glamor can bring, as David Lynch portrayed so well on his “Mulholland Drive.”
At the same time, the director draws from his own previous works, particularly from the idea of impossible romance in “Bad Blood”, and at the aesthetic and narrative level of his remarkable “Holy Motors”, where he also exploited the neon and repetitive green tones seen in “Annette” and even offered a musical glimpse in a sequence that starred the Australian singer Kylie Minogue .
In keeping with these half-face-to-face and half-virtual times, “Annette” has premiered in parallel on streaming and traditional cinema: since last Thursday it can be seen on the MUBI platform and also in three Cineplanet theaters (Alcázar, El Polo and San Miguel). Although it is an advantage to have it within the reach of a click, Carax’s film is also an atypical premiere in the local environment, a film that due to its exuberance and audiovisual display deserves to be appreciated on the big screen. It is almost certain that it will not go beyond this Wednesday on the billboard. Reason enough to recommend it enthusiastically.