FILM: LA LA LAND
CAST: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, JOHN LEGEND, ROSEMARIE DEWITT,
DIRECTOR: Damien Chazelle
Boy meets girl meets the upending aspirations of the city of stars – and they all break out of the conventions of everyday life as ‘La La Land’ takes off on an exuberant song and dance journey through a life changing love affair between a jazz pianist and a hopeful actress. At once an ode to the glamour and emotion of cinema classics, a love letter to the Los Angeles of unabated dreams, and a distinctly modern romance, the film reunites Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, bringing them together with rising writer/director Damien Chazelle (the Oscar winning ‘Whiplash’.)
The film begins as everything begins in L.A.: on the freeway. This is where Sebastian meets Mia, with a disdainful honk in a traffic jam that mirrors all too well the gridlock they’re each navigating in their lives. Both are focused on the kind of near impossible hopes that are the lifeblood of the city: Sebastian trying to get people to care about traditional jazz in the 21st Centuryl; Mia aiming to nail just one uninterrupted audition. But neither expects that their fateful encounter will lead them to take leaps they never could alone.
The leaps they both make, towards each other and, conflictingly, “into their grandest artistic dreams”, create s its own quintessentially cinematic world of rapture in ‘La La Land’ – one that with light, colour, sound, music and words takes a trip directly into the ecstasies of the happiness we chase… and the heartache of the passions we never get over.
Wearing its influences on its sleeve yet taking considerable risks, ‘La La Land’ allows Chazelle to pay homage to legends of cinema while harnessing its current power to make the most private human terrain – the territory of intimate relationships, personal dreams and the crossroads where decisions set fate into motion – come to life on the screen as a palpably real, yet enchanted, universe.
Says the director: “To me, it was important to make a movie about dreamers, about two people who have these giant dreams that drive them, that bring them together, but also tear them apart.”
Adds Chazelle: “‘La La Land’ is a very different movie from ‘Whiplash’ in many ways. But they both deal with something that’s really personal to me: how you balance life and art, how you balance reality and dreams and also, specifically, how you balance your relationship to your art with your relationships with other people. With ‘La La Land’, I wanted to tell that story using music, song and dance. I think the musical as a genre is a great vehicle for expressing that balancing act between dreams and reality.”