Annette

Annette ★★★★★

“Carax thanks Edgar Allen Poe in the credits, which made me wonder whether he was aiming for his own entry in that long heritage of the grotesque that has gripped the romantic imagination of modernists going back to the 19th-century poetry of Charles Baudelaire. If so, he aimed well. Annette is one of the great disaffected musicals, in the league of It’s Always Fair Weather (1955), New York, New York (1977) and Pennies from Heaven (1978). It has the edge on all the above three in its spectacularly eccentric conceits: morbidly green swimming pools that look like they’ve not been cleaned for decades; a title character creepily ventriloquized in her motions; a suppression of dance, except for Driver’s random, mocking bourrée through a crowd of paparazzi. Often violently unpleasant to watch (two murders and a lifetime of trauma afflicted onto an exploited child do not a crowd-pleaser make), Annette hews to a bizarre song-speech, openly contemptuous of its audience’s embrace of social-media narcissism. It’s the dream musical of a jaded psychoanalyst who wants his patient to kill the father and the mother – and who wants to live vicariously through these murders.”

For my first piece in Frieze, I wrote about Leos Carax and Sparks’ ANNETTE. More here: www.frieze.com/article/leos-carax-annette-review-2021

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