Annette ★★★★½

The vastness of love and the infinity of artistic under-realization meet to form the abyss inside “Annette.” 

Leos Carax’s new film blankets the nightscape of Los Angeles like a magician’s handkerchief tossed into the air. Matter stretches into air and air becomes an un-reality of spirit. 

With use of curtains, overlays of fades, and tricks of frame speed and reversal, “Annette” seems to invoke and stare into the same blackness as David Lynch’s “Mullholland Drive.” The two works are set in the same locale, and both dialogue in their woeful arias to the City of Angel’s many, many fallen children. 

There is a discomfort and unbalance that comes with watching “Annette,” as with “Mulholland.” Carax commits fully to making the movie not only a musical, but a sung-through operetta. We know these characters only through song. And so, we know only their deepest desires and fears. 

It’s a way of crafting an entire film that essentially exists within a dreamscape. 

Musicals, with their subverting of reality via song, as a genre, displace their audience necessarily from the norm. Carax, with his sets that become stages that become city that become sets — pushes to the extreme this transmutation of place and form. 

The actors in “Annette” resurrect their roles to exist within the abyss of an art that will never - in all its perfection- equal the fascination of a single, real person. 

What remains when that lie of truth loses the passion and love that makes it live…. is Annette.

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