“Annette”, rock opera on the brilliant darkness of the soul

Annette **

by Leos Carax

International co-production, 2:20
In theaters July 6

To celebrate the reunion with the public, the Cannes Film Festival could hardly have dreamed of better than the introduction to the new film by Leos Carax, whose aura of cursed filmmaker has not weakened since. The Lovers on the Bridge (1991).

→ INVESTIGATION. In Cannes, the pulse of French cinema will beat hard

Annette begins behind the scenes of the soundtrack recording of this sophisticated musical. In control, the director and conductor intends to order the spectators to hold their breath, before letting the troupe of actors and musicians (the rock dandies of the Sparks) sing in chorus his impatience to launch the performance. “The curtain of your eyelids rises lazily / But where is the stage, you ask yourself / Is she at outside, or inside? “

While we are ready to applaud this catchy incipit, which questions the porous borders between fiction and reality, begins the dark love story between two beings that everything separates: Ann Desfranoux, the diva of a thousand lives played by Marion Cotillard, and Henry McHenry, the tormented comedian played by Adam Driver. She is as diaphanous as he is dark, as angelic as he is devilish. She sails from success to triumph, like a white swan on the waves of fame. He flirts with the limits of provocation, like a black prince in constant struggle against his demons and his audience.

The maestro sometimes does too much

Annette, the fruit of their union, crystallizes the hopes and the torments of these two contrary figures who borrow a lot from the characters of the tales, of Snow White at The beauty and the Beast, Passing by Faust and Pinocchio. This allegorical overload ends up weighing on the film, fortunately lightened by the wonderfully strange presence of the frail Annette. A toy of her parents’ aspirations, she becomes a baby star, adored by millions of fans fascinated by her strange chants, even before having uttered her first word.

His shows are so many opportunities for Leos Carax to bring the charge against the entertainment company, interspersing his film with “celebrity” news flashes a bit repetitive about the star couple and their child prodigy. Not shrinking from any grandiloquence, the maestro sometimes does too much during scenes of great spectacle with unreal aesthetics.

→ READ. The return of Leos Carax, “cursed” filmmaker

Romantic artist, Leos Carax, whose first feature film was called Boy Meets Girl (1984), enjoys the tortuous love stories between a man and a woman adrift, caught in the shining threads of the blackness of the soul. The imagination is strong / And the song of reason / Is weak in intensity », sighs Henry McHenry.

It is however a pity that the director drowns his remarks here in an excessive formalism which becomes annoying over the 2 h 20 that lasts Annette. The film, which would have benefited from being tightened, ends up moving all the same thanks to an idea of ​​staging the character of Annette that the director asked not to reveal in order not to spoil the surprise. Carried out with delicacy, this representation of childhood touches the heart and brings a glimmer of hope in the night that falls on the end credits.


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