Sonia Hadj Said
I have spent the entire week dancing, dreaming, singing, working, smiling, hoping, listening, thinking…and then I went to see ‘La la land’ again because I wanted to be awakened from that silly sheer joy that overtook my soul and body. I expected to be disappointed and bored – this is what usually happens if I see a film again and want it to be as magical as for the first time. But it was worse. Because if someone, somehow manages to create a film that is painfully real and artistically beautiful at once, that beauty and that power won’t go away. So, here it is: why ‘La la land’ is a masterpiece, from a point of view of an artist, not a reviewer.
There are simply not enough films about artists and for artists. Or there are, but underrated, old or not signed off by a big Hollywood producer. There are not enough films about artists because you can either offend one by suggesting that everything is still possible (‘Coyote Ugly’) or create something so raw and sorrowful (‘Inside Llewyn Davis) that will make a young kid turn around and change his ways to “I just do music as a hobby”. But oh my, does ‘La la land’ have it all.
I am convinced that such film has a different meaning for each person. Someone might watch it and wallow in the romance, while not noticing the take on broken dreams in L.A. while others will appreciate the struggles of young creatives in a competitive (lightly said) industry. So what’s the recipe?
The music. I’m mentioning it first because it feels like ‘La la land’ composer, Justin Hurwitz was put on Earth to do exactly that. The soundtrack is one beautiful never-stopping, ear-soothing piece of magic. Pure passion, it creates something out of this world: an idea that someone out there can transform a cinema room into a theatre stage.
The story. A struggling actress. An ambitious jazz pianist. Auditions, unpaid bills (‘I will change the locks.’ ‘You can’t afford that!’) A pipe dream (‘I’m letting life hit me until it gets tired. Then I’ll hit back. It’s a classic rope-a-dope’). Years and years of the same things because despite to what we’re used to be seeing, things don’t work out after one major failure. The simplicity. In short, the reality as it is with a touch of…
The fantasy. They suddenly start dancing and singing. They are flying at the Griffith Observatory and you know it’s still a very real background to a story and you just feel like you have an entrance to what’s happening in their hearts. It’s just beautiful.
The ending. And they lived happily ever after with dreams coming true. So why are you crying? I will tell you why. It’s the realisation that what you might perceive as a happy ending in a film means something completely different in someone’s life. Film’s director Damien Chazelle apologises and hopes you enjoyed this real, beautiful and artistic journey to what it means to fight for your dreams in our times.
‘La la land’ is a love letter to artists worldwide and we should all be thankful to Chazelle for reminding people that this is an everyday sacrifice that takes a lifetime. We should be grateful that he managed to make it into a colourful musical, highlighting the fact that being passionate and determined is beautiful because it’s pure. And that is something we will never turn our backs on.
Banner image: Summit