Venice film festival opens with ‘La La Land’: a sparkling musical that the eye, ear, and soul caress

The 73 rd Mostra opens in (retro)style, and singing and dancing, with Damien ‘Whiplash’, Chazelles sparkling musical La La Land.

La La Land, with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. © /

That Damien Chazelle sense of rhythm and mise-en-scene, plus an ear and an eye for jazz, proved to be the American director two years ago with his debut, Whiplash, an energetic study of a young drummer that the summit hopes to achieve. And also his second full-length album – the musical La La Land, which the 73 rd Venice film festival opens – is one in which music plays a leading role and in which the characters fall down and get up their American Dream to pursue. And that singing and dancing still.

The are Mia (Emma Stone), who hopes to make it as an actress, but for the time being has not been touched, then the coffee shop in the Warner studios, and Seb (Ryan Gosling), a passionate pianist that his own music club wants to open but forced to earning cocktailriedeltjes strumming in a restaurant. They walk to each other, such as that in ironievrije, romantic musicals once, by accident, against the body. But no matter how much the also click between the two and how much they each other also support in the realisation of their ambitions; in Los Angeles, where the stars both in the sky and on the street, not just straight from zero to hero, and in love, nor, as it turns out.

Unlike Baz Luhrmann, Julie Taymor, or others who over the past years, to a musical ventured, choose Chazelle not for a post-modern package – with videoclipmontages and a lot of digital distractions – but for a modernist, old school approach, with classic choreography, sparkling songs (Justin Hurwitz), tight cinemascoopcomposities, a bright color palette and a lot of long takes, the performances and the sets. Although La La Land, set in the here and the now seems the film directly from the archives of MGM rolled, and embraces fully the hightened reality-idiom of the traditional Technicolor musicals from the forties and fifties, but the retro feeling is at no time a gimmick, or a straitjacket for the characters.

All of the great, in one single shot shot prologue – a traffic jam on the motorway of LA mutates to a flamboyant sing – and dance number – you know Chazelle the perfect tone, somewhere between yellowed nostalgia and contemporary energy, between then and now, between flamboyance and stylering, between ecstasy and control. And the romantic duo of Gosling and Stone is timeless charm, even though it appears that first is not the world’s best singer and will lose this liefdessprookje to the end, and of its momentum.

A film that your eye, your ear and as your soul knows how to caress, and so the perfect way to a festival already swinging and with the necessary retroglamour to open. Vicente Minnelli would be satisfied.

Venice film festival

  • ‘Home’ by Fien Troch at film festival Venice: A haunting journey of suspense and ennui
  • ‘Nocturnal Animals’ at film festival Venice: Sometimes lynchian, sometimes pure pulp fiction
  • ‘Arrival’ at film festival Venice: How to get your B-material a film of A-level
  • “The Light Between Oceans’ film festival Venice: a soap opera from the boeketreeks
  • Read all articles about Venice film Festival

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular