It’s been nine years since director Leos Carax straight-up annihilated brains with the utterly fantastic Holy Motors, and cinephiles have been waiting with metaphorical saliva dripping down their chins for news of his next project. It may feel like it’s been a long time — after all, nine years is by no means a minor stretch if you’re doing hard time — but it’s been decades since the Brothers Mael, the musical geniuses behind Sparks, first flirted with the idea of making a musical. They’ve come close before, as showcased in Edgar Wright’s fantastic documentary The Sparks Brothers, Tim Burton nearly made a musical based on the manga Mai, The Psychic Girl with the band back in the ’90s, but the project collapsed before it could make it to the screen.
But their dream of making a movie-musical has finally come to fruition, and the brothers have joined forces with Carax and birthed into the world Annette, a bizarro musical starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard. Carax, of course, directed the film, but the Maels wrote the script, the score, and the original songs performed in it (they also act in it, as well), and, judging by the trailer that dropped earlier on Monday morning, it may have been worth all of that struggle. It looks brilliant.
“‘Annette’ is set in Los Angeles and tells the story of Henry, a stand-up comedian with a fierce sense of humor and Ann, a singer of international renown. In the spotlight, they are the perfect couple — healthy, happy, and glamorous. The birth of their first child, Annette, a mysterious girl with an exceptional destiny, will change their lives.”
Annette will kick off this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which begins on July 6, but will also release in French cinemas on the same day. Given that it’s in English, it may very well arrive on these shores at the same time, depending on whoever is distributing it. Doing so sooner might, in fact, be better, given that Wright’s film is due to open in arthouses here on June 18. Could you imagine a Sparks-dominated theatrical landscape? It may very well happen.