Last month, the trailer for the unusual musical Annette, the English-language feature debut of acclaimed French director Leos Carax (Holy Motors) landed. It introduced audiences to a strange and unusual tale about a provocative stand-up comedian (Played by Adam Driver) and his opera singer wife (Played by Marion Cotillard) as their daughter Annette is born and begins to display a special gift. Though today's release of a song from the film illustrates the film's unique inception.
The film was originally conceived as a Sparks studio album, but eventually became a feature film after the musicians discussed the story with Carax at 2013’s Cannes Film Festival. And thus, the film’s entire soundtrack is composed and performed by Sparks, with Carax co-writing the music and the cast featuring as additional voices. As the song "So May We Start" indicates, released today as a preview of the film's soundtrack, it's going to be one of deep investment as the song features lead stars Driver and Cotillard:
Along with the preview, Sparks released a statement about the film's development:
“Initially, we conceived Annette as another Sparks album,. Yet this time it would be a narrative story that would consist of three main characters, a small enough ensemble that would allow us to also present the ‘opera’ live on tour… The music, story and album were finished and ready to go, which is where the story takes a huge detour. After meeting Leos at Cannes, we felt a real kinship, so we thought we would send him Annette, not expecting anything other than to show him what Sparks was currently up to. And lo and behold, he said he really liked the album and would like to consider it as his next project. We were happily surprised and elated at his reaction. As fans of Leos’ films, to now realize that he would be directing a film of ours was beyond our dreams.”
Carax added to this, noting his lifelong affection for Sparks:
“I discovered Sparks when I was about 14 – I stole a copy of Propaganda from an underground shop at La Défense because I liked the cover. Not long after that I saw them live at the Olympia in Paris. Propaganda and their next album, Indiscreet, have been part of my life ever since. Their tracks are among the most joyous songs I know (although they’re poignant too, in places). For me, Sparks’ music is like a childhood home, but one free of ghosts. Without them, I don’t think I’d ever have done something I’d dreamt of doing ever since I first started out in cinema: making a ‘film in music.'”
All-in-all, the film is set to be one of the more fascinating to land during the upcoming film festival season with it set to be the opening film at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival which will run from July 6th to July 17th. It will release in France the same day with a US release date expected after it's initial premiere.
Annette co-stars Simon Helberg and Angèle.