Director Leos Carax’s debut English-language film ‘Annette’ is a musical drama that is a visually stunning exploration of complex human emotions. The movie tells the story of a celebrity couple whose life completely changes after the birth of their daughter, Annette, who is a gifted individual. Despite its mixed critical reception, the film has garnered praise for its experimental approach to visually portraying emotions. If you are curious to find out more about the inspiration behind this captivating cinematic experience, here’s everything you need to know.
Is Annette Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Annette’ is not based on a true story. The movie tells a fictional story that is conceptualized by brothers Ron and Russell Mael. The duo is popularly known as the two-piece band Sparks. The brothers had been developing the project since 2012, and it was originally not conceived to be a film. It so happened that Sparks had developed ‘Annette’ as their next album in the form of a narrative project. Shortly after completing work on the project, the brothers visited the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. At the festival, they met Leos Carax. The director used Sparks’ song titled “How Are You Getting Home?” in his film ‘Holy Motors.’
Sparks recognized that Carax uses his filmmaking talent to a similar effect as the utilize their musical talents. The brothers shared their work on ‘Annette’ with Carax and waited for his feedback. Carax was initially hesitant towards the idea fearing that people will try to find parallels between the film and his personal life. However, Carax eventually agreed to make ‘Annette’ his next directorial. The original concept went through some changes after Carax came onboard. The director inserted his own worldview and sensibilities while transforming the idea from a musical album to a cinematic experience. Ron Mael told Deadline about how the filmmaker added a personal touch to the concept.
“He made it very clear from the beginning, just because he’s such a personal filmmaker, that he would want to inject some of his own sensibility into the film. But the basis of it, and most of the pieces, were things that were there nine years ago. He felt partially that, since it originally was a theatrical piece, the characters could be more well-rounded and more cinematic … Then he requested a few new pieces to be written, which we did,” he said.
Carax drew inspiration from comedians such as Andy Kaufman and Lenny Bruce to develop the intimate standup bits performed by Henry (Adam Driver) that are wondrous, grotesque, and obscene. For the character of Ann, the director made actress Marion Cotillard study the behavior of French-German actress Romy Schneider. An interview of Schneider in which she exudes confidence and vulnerability simultaneously served as the basis for Cotillard’s performance in the film.
Carax also opted against lip-syncing for the musical scenes, and the actors, for the most part, instead sang their parts live during filming. Ultimately, ‘Annette’ is a bit of a fantasy musical film. However, at its heart, it is an exploration of human emotions. The director’s understanding of the complexities of emotions and his penchant for telling deeply personal stories ground the film in reality. The cast’s believable performances allow the audiences to connect with the emotionally moving narrative.
Read More: Where To Stream Annette?