Originally an album – never released to the public – by brothers Ron and Russell Mael, the Sparks, “Annette” became a musical film following their meeting with Leos Carax.
Los Angeles these days. Henry is a stand-up comedian with a fierce humor. Ann, an internationally renowned singer. Together, under the spotlight, they form a happy and glamorous couple. The birth of their first child, Annette, a mysterious girl with an exceptional destiny, will turn their lives upside down.
“Annette” is Leos Carax, its director, who talks about it best:
“Since I started filming. I had imagined my third film, ”The Lovers on the Bridge”, like a musical. The big problem, my big regret, is that I can’t compose music myself. And how do you go about choosing, then working, with a musician? It worried me a lot. I saw few musicals when I was young. I remember the discovery of “Phantom of the Paradise ” of Brian De Palma, around the same time as that of Sparks. It was only later that I saw American, Russian or Indian musical films. And of course, those of Jacques Demy. The musical genre gives cinema another dimension — almost literally: space-time-music. And that brings extraordinary freedom.
The inspiration, the breath: life and death of course, laughter and song, the woman who must breathe well to give life, the breath that at certain times we hold, in life and in the cinema … musical rhythm.
Music is such an intimate thing. I couldn’t see myself making a musical movie if I didn’t like every note in every song.
But we had to create for “Annette ” 40 songs that I can see and then film. And how do you work with music when you’re not a musician yourself? But working with Ron and Russell was miraculously simple. They are very inventive, humble, quick. And I’ve known their music for so long …
The challenge is to find the film’s natural breathing. ”
The Sparks reveal a little more:
Having remained one of the most innovative and creative groups in the musical landscape over a fifty-year career, it was natural that the collaboration of Sparks with the visionary French director gives birth to a work beyond measure.
“In 2009, we were approached by Swedish National Radio to create a musical drama, with the only instruction to incorporate a Swedish element. This is how the idea of “The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman ”, a musical fantasy exploring what could have happened if Bergman had moved to Hollywood for greed and greater notoriety than in his native Sweden, at the risk of selling his artistic soul to the Hollywood machine. The success of this project has helped us realize that we can explore new musical forms than the 3 minute pop song as we have been doing for decades in our band. Sparks.
In 2011, we felt the need to take on a new narrative project, and that’s where we created our musical, “Annette”. Initially, we conceived this project as a new album of Sparks, but this time with a story and three main characters, that is to say a sufficiently limited set to present this “opera” project on stage, like a tour of the Sparks. We would each play one of two male roles, Henry mchenry and the Conductor, and we would use a female voice to play the part of Ann on our tour. As the music, story, and album were finished, things took a whole different turn. In 2013, we were at the Cannes Film Festival and were presented at Leos Carax, who used the Sparks song “How Are You Getting Home”In his latest film“Holy Motors ”. We felt a real affinity with Leos after our meeting.
When we got back to Los Angeles, we sent him “Annette”Without expecting anything from him, just to show him what we were working on at the time. He told us that he really liked the album and wanted to make it his next project. A few weeks of reflection later, Leos told us that he would very much like to do ”Annette”His next film. It was a huge surprise, we were on cloud nine. As big fans of all his films, imagine that Leos Carax would realize our project was beyond our dreams. ”
ORIGINAL MUSIC: SPARKS LYRICS: RON MAEL, RUSSELL MAEL, & LC.
The soundtrack of ”Annette”, Co-written by Sparks and Leos Carax, composed, arranged and orchestrated by Sparks, also allows to find behind the microphones the high-flying cast of the film: Adam driver (Henry), Marion Cotillard (Ann) and Simon helberg (The conductor).
- HENRY MC HENRY: ADAM DRIVER
- ANN DESFRANOUX: MARION COTILLARD
- CHIEF OF ORCHESTRA: SIMON HELBERG
- ANNETTE: DEVYN MC DOWELL
- SPARKS: RUSSELL MAEL
- SPARKS: RON MAEL
► The musical by Leos Carax will open the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday July 6 and is part of the official selection of this 74th festival.
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