Last year Damien Chazelle made a little movie about jazz musicians that turned into one of the best films about making art to hit theaters in years. Whiplash is a tightly wound film about high pressure artists; they are fierce people seeking the utmost perfection from the people around them. Jazz depends upon everyone; sorta like filmmaking.
I imagine that Chazelle has a little of J.K. Simmons’ Fletcher in him. Not the cruelty (I hope), but the drive, the passion for artistry. That must be true; how else do we account for Whiplash? Or, it seems, La La Land.
La La Land is Chazelle’s forthcoming picture. It stars Ryan Gosling, as a jazz musician and Emma Stone as an actress. They fall in love, and about this love, they sing and dance, because La La Land is a musical.
The feelings evoked in Gosling’s vocals here, paired with the images of the two floating across the night sky are striking. The solid color palate and background stasis and the drama of the bodies’ movement remind me of scenes of American in Paris (though with all due respect, I can’t imagine Gosling and Stone can dance like Kelly and Caron).
There are anticipated movies comeing this year. Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi film about language translation, Arrival and Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation chief among them. But for my money, nothing is more exciting than La La Land.
La La Land premiered at TIFF; the reaction was positively ebullient. It opens December 2.