A stand-up comedian and an opera singer are raising a daughter who discovers she has an unusual gift.
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The naturalistic content and plasticity of form in “Annette” amaze and surprise with each successive scene. The gripping darkness here crosses all boundaries, and the music, which Karax has always approached with trepidation, plays here until the end credits. Annette is probably the most personal film in the Frenchman’s filmography, because it is autobiographical. The movie shows everything so naturally, that it will not only make you feel all the tragedy, but will make you howl with every breath and exhalation of the main characters.
A bit of history. 1980. Leos Carax releases his first short film, Choking Jazz. Even then, the master of epochal tragedies had baited the habit: to bring down all the mental stones and twist them into view. Each painting by the Frenchman is a piece of himself, whether it’s “Boy Meets Girl” or “Holy Motors.” And watching what Carax shows in his films each time, one is amazed at the unfathomable beauty of his inner world. Everything we could imagine in our dreams, or in our most distant imaginations, Karax can bring it all to the screen. The screen for him is no longer just an auxiliary means of demonstration, the screen for Leos is a kind of X-ray, capable of giving shape to all thoughts, experiences and ideas. And even such a banal and in its own way conservative story of the fall of one and the rise of another in “Annette”, Leos Karax was able to turn into a rich tragedy with a dash of symbolism.
Love in “Annette” borders on contempt. Recognition by the world at large enters with renunciation by all. Life plays chess with death. Light and darkness overturn each other. Male and female, dark and light, passive and active. He is the taking away of night, she is the bringing in of day. And even the visual and the auditory are in conflict here. The whole whirlwind becomes a natural universal struggle. A struggle without which the world would be unreal.
For all this war, “Annette” is a picture about decadence, about death, about contempt. About the consequences that await the one who deliberately stumbles and looks into the bowl of darkness. And even self-confidence can not only help us get results, it can also warp us, or even kill us from within. One thing that can save us is the recognition of ourselves. Acknowledging who you are. Ann is an opera singer. Her friend is a conductor. Well, Henry is either a boxer who is so self-confident in his preparations for performances, or a failed comedian whose performances are nothing but performances and stories about his life. By coincidence, when the true inner self isn’t found after all, there is only one thing left to do: chase down the nighttime tracks in hopes of seeing the face of a saint, or a ray of plain.
Leos Carax has the ability to endow each of his films with a special charm of intimacy. All of his stories are capable of touching the heart, for in each character you can find yourself. And “Annette” is a universe of masculinity and femininity, their eternal collision. The timelessness of the themes that “Annette” touches upon, goes off the scale to the level of a fainting awe of the viewer. And it’s all about the genre, because we are faced with a musical. Or, more accurately, a doused with gloom opera. All the long and not so long plans here are subordinate to the music of Sparks. And, imagine that there are things in the world that cannot be allowed to happen without some element. For example, Edward Munch and his ‘Scream,’ Queen and ‘We Will Rock You. So, in the same way, it’s impossible to imagine ‘Annette’ without Sparks’ music.
The music, turned into counterpoint, supports not only the genre in the film, but also makes “Annette” a kind of Morse code that communicates with the viewer through the music time and again. From the beginning to the very end we are not spectators, we are interlocutors who are not watching, but communicating with the film. We communicate in a peculiar way: not with words and gestures, but with emotions and feelings. Throughout his career, Carax has remained true to himself, and has made film much more than a form of art.
As it develops, “Annette” transforms from a tiny parable about the forces of the dark realm into a very real opera full of drama and horror. Gradually, with each minute further on, you descend lower and lower into the crypt. And while you are picking up the steps, “Annette” is already regulating you, namely physiologically controlling you. Perhaps everyone experiences it differently, but Carax has always been able to drive the viewer to a state of wonder. But that was then. “Annette,” on the other hand, is capable of shocking and unnerving with each successive scene.
And so, enveloped in the shivers that harden now and then, one begins to feel the body. One realizes that you are you and no one else. And at the end of the performance, when the credits have slid upward, you are enveloped in light after the darkness, as if a new life has been born. As if there was no life before. After these feelings it is impossible to cross out all those horror-covered, shaking and shocking scenes, and, moreover, it is not supposed to be possible to turn off all that music from your head. And the line ‘We love each other so much’ is like a Band-Aid, firmly glued to my cerebral cortex.
“Annette” can also be called a film about the inner rhythm of life. The musical component of the entire film also marks the fact that all people are, in fact, carriers of their own music. Some have Jazz in their souls, some have Rock, some have Postpunk. “Annette” is a metamorphosis film about transformation, about the changeability of our musical rhythm as life goes on. As music changes, so do we with it. How the same melody can sound completely different at different stages of life. And all this polyphony in Sparks’ music beautifully emphasizes the voices crashing together, as each personal song comes together in one big opera. An opera about life and death.
“Annette” is a tragedy of incredible proportions. Leos Carax’s most personal and wildly revealing work, which has the potential to become just as personal for every viewer. It’s a black tale that not everyone is likely to fall in love with, but “Annette” is sure to become an imprint in the memory. Wounded by a tragic fate, Carax, in his inordinate strength, was able to depict all that inner horror of fear, grief and loss. When you think a lot about death, you yourself become an invisible entity. And at the end there is only silence. A silence that overcomes. The silence that deadens. The silence that takes away. Your eyes will fill with tears, for this is true art. Bravo, Annette. Bravo, Carax. A round of applause. The curtain closes. Lights. The show is over. And again, dead silence.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (49.7 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
German: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
German: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
English, German, German SDH.