Annette

Annette

The new film from Holy Motors director Leos Carax is a rock opera scripted by Sparks siblings, Ron and Russell Mael (with music and songs by the band). Adam Driver plays a ferocious and provocative stand-up comedian, Henry McHenry, opposite Marion Cotillard as his wife, Anne, a world famous soprano. Their union - which is intensely physical and subject to much tabloid scrutiny - is eventually blessed with a daughter, Annette, who is herself gifted with an extraordinary talent. Yet all is not well in this idyll. As his wife’s fame outstrips his own, Henry dedicates himself to nurturing their daughter’s career…

Did we mention that for most of the movie, Annette is represented by a puppet? This is a Sparks/Carax joint, after all, so you best be prepared to be unprepared. Like many of Sparks’ catchy, pop savvy songs, it’s simultaneously deeply personal and self-consciously silly, sometimes witty, sometimes absurd; like Carax’s movies, it’s romantic, melodramatic, dark, intoxicating and/or just plain toxic. It’s a film about art and desire that gives these (pro-)creative impulses their head, but which also channels a certain disenchantment, anxiety and doubt. It’s in conflict with itself, a movie on a tear which dares you to hold your breath for 140 dreamy minutes. Cinema!

Opening Dec 26 at the VIFF Centre http://goviff.org/best-of-2021-annette .