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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Annette (2021)

After (and during actually) watching Holy Motors a decade ago, the resonating impression I got was that of Leos Carax's being was a rather twisted artist, much more than a film director or script writer. I think I was more confused than most of the rather more sophisticated cinephiles giving opinions of their own. Looked pretty, but still the unceremonious unloading of a brainfart of magic, and to me, little else.

So when this shot across my desk, I was tempted to let it whizz by. I only have so much time in the day. Not enough to try and keep up with Carax again, not to mention Sparks as well, already a headscratcher from the eighties I remembered from the first time around.

Still they'd managed to rope in Driver and Cotillard, so it must have some merit, I mused. If nothing else, I'd love to meet the sound technicians on the Opera we see Cotillard miming to. Can't be easy, what with it being next to a forest an' that. (j/k)

So the eponymous Annette finally shows her wrinkled, rather hideous face at around forty minutes, delivered magically by the power of laughter and ET's heart glowing brightly inside her. Why Carax chose to use an obviously fake baby is beyond me. Did nobody trust him with their own child? Wouldn't surprise me. And when he designed this fake child, why would you give it ears like King Charles?

All of this accompanied by the never-ending, infuriating and infantile score. Really, show a minute of Cotillard singing and Driver doing his best Bo Burnham impression and that would have been enough to get us started. Remember I said there isn't enough hours in the day? Life is just too short for all of this needless flouncing.

I have for more than a couple of decades taken issue with celebrated auteurs for taking advantage of audiences who know little more than reputation, or what their learned cinemagoing acquaintances, equally ignorant perhaps, may foist upon them. The fact that an auteur is most often eclectic and difficult to grasp does not make them artistic geniuses any more than it makes them babbling idiots with an audience. This is why the term 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' exists.

To be fair to it, I understood the thing this time, at least, all the way through from beginning to eventual end, therefore much more approachable than some of his previous work. It's art, to be sure, but still not as I know it. If this was all there was to be entertained by, I'd have died long ago.


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