Well that’s one way to kick off Cannes.
“Annette,” the opening-night film of the festival that stars Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, turned some heads Tuesday with some surreal, head-scratching moments and a few divisive reactions from critics, even as it earned a five-minute standing ovation from the crowd.
“Holy Motors” director Leos Carax’s latest film is a pop opera with a story and original songs by the duo Sparks, and the movie features everything from a marionette baby, musical head trips and, as at least one critic pointed out, two shots of Driver even briefly singing into Cotillard’s vagina.
“I thought Adam Driver doing Bo Burnham-style stand-up and having a horrifying robot baby with Marion Cotillard was weird but ‘Annette’ just kept outdoing itself,” critic Iana Murray wrote of the film. “A true s—post of a movie. Don’t know if i like it yet but i respect the audacity.”
TheWrap’s Steve Pond wrote in his review of the film out of Cannes that when “Holy Motors” premiered at the festival nine years ago, it was such a radical shock placed in the dead center of so many other films. That film, despite being a critical darling, had its fair share of polarized reactions and boos at Cannes. But “Annette” is the opening night film and is setting the tone this year, and it doesn’t quite reach the level of crazy of its predecessor.
But when Carax’s new film, “Annette,” premiered at Cannes on Tuesday, it faced a tougher road. The French filmmaker, after all, has the opening-night competition slot this year, which means his new film can’t come as a breath of fresh, weird air the way his last film did. This year, he’s setting the tone, not providing the contrast.
“Besides, ‘Annette’ (an Amazon Studios release) may be bonkers in its own way, but it’s less bonkers than “’Holy Motors’ was,” Pond wrote. “Carax set the bizarro bar very high nine years ago, and his first movie since then proves that he’s still a nutty filmmaker by turning his nuttiness into a full-fledged musical. That’s fun, for a while, and then it’s kind of exhausting, something that ‘Holy Motors,’ with a similar two-hour-and-20-minute running time, never was.”
“Annette” is set in present-day Los Angeles and stars Driver as a stand-up comic and Cotillard as a world-renowned opera singer who together fall in love and make a passionate, glamorous couple, but find their lives turned upside down when their first child, Annette, turns out to be a mysterious little girl with an exceptional destiny.