His manager comes from the carnival and the career of the singer was a roller coaster, with peaks and abysses: Elvis, biopic carried by the revelation Austin Butler, in the title role, and Tom Hanks, was presented Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival .
As in an amusement park, the spectator does not see the 2h39 of the feature film by Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann pass. The disheveled editing and the explosion of colors, signatures of the filmmaker, disconcert in the first scenes. Before the charging pace made sense. Show biz is a washing machine and the interpreter of Love Me Tender ended up wrung out, died at 42 in 1977. American actor Austin Butler (30) brilliantly takes up the challenge of embodying the “King” for two decades. With a sacred performance: it is his voice that we hear in the sequences where Presley sings. The Californian, also a model, appeared in Disney series or even in the cinema in Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino, is stunning in the reproduction of concerts in 1970 in a Las Vegas palace.
Just compare it with Elvis: That’s The Way It Is, a documentary made that year by American filmmaker Denis Sanders. Presley was then 35 years old and it was already yet another revival of his career, successful this time. He has only seven years left to live, but is still in good shape, far from the final overweight, puffy face under the effect of alcohol and medication.
Because the dazzling trajectory of the musician from Mississippi was not linear, which the biopic traces well (out of competition). The beginning looks like a fairy tale when Colonel Parker, a manager from the circus who manages country stars, spots this “white kid who sings like a black man”, as the film renders him. The impresario relies on this born showman who puts spectators in a trance, long before the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. Tom Hanks, made up, aging his voice, artificially weighted with the pachydermic silhouette of Colonel Parker, delivers a performance that Americans love. He excels as a manipulator for whom the “show must go on” and the coffers must be filled. Who will offer the best and the worst to his foal. Austin Butler shines as a young Elvis with his first successes, bristling with his swaying the puritan America of the 1950s. And who quickly sees his illusions shattered by a cynical music industry.
Episodes unknown to the general public are well exploited in the biopic. Forced to sing with a dog in a TV show, Parker’s bad idea, Elvis pays him back by performing all in black leather dressed for a Christmas TV show, far from snowman sweaters. The film is not free from flaws – bombastic scenes of Elvis as a child discovering black American music – but hides nothing of a life in the whirlwind of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.
Success and scandal
“He’s a great showman, out of the ordinary, with ups and downs”: Ethan Coen presents Jerry Lee Lewis at Cannes: trouble in mind, documentary on this rock pianist, between success and scandal, like his marriage to his cousin 13 years old in the 1950s. This is one of the outstanding archival footage. Relaunched by a journalist several decades after this union which put his career on hold, the American musician replied provocatively: “She was 12 on the day of the wedding, 13 the next day” (he was 22 at the time). “It’s a typical trick of his. She was 13 years old on the wedding day, but he adds to it to tell the journalist: Fuck you. That’s why his character is incredible, ”comments Ethan Coen.
In another passage, the pianist, revealed with the hit Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On in the 1950s, says that he never took an opening act because “no one is up to it”. “It must have been difficult for the others around him,” laughs the director, who signs this film on a proposal from producer and guitarist T-Bone Burnett. The latter had worked in 1989 on a transposition of the life of the “Killer”, nickname of the pianist, for the cinema with Great Balls of Fire (one of his hits), directed by Jim McBride with Denis Quaid in the title role. “T-Bone Burnett was not very happy with the result, it must be said that this film is not good at all”, rebounds Ethan Coen. We understand that the two men wanted to go beyond the clichés. Show that the pianist (married 7 times between the ages of 16 and 76), after crossing the desert, reinvented himself in the country, with success. “What I learned from this movie is that he’s not just this crazy pianist from Great Balls of Fire (playing with elbows, feet, buttocks), he’s so many other things. “, adds Ethan Coen.
The documentary does not, however, elude other dark sides, such as when he shot his bassist or his many addictions. The musician (86 years old, diminished and who no longer speaks publicly) confides in an archive that at one time he took “pills for a whole city and a bottle of Tequila to sober up”. Less avant-garde than Moonage Daydream, a documentary on David Bowie also presented at Cannes, Ethan Coen nevertheless dribbled past the usual experts filmed in the studio. “Who still makes documentaries like that? ” tackles the director.
“Don’t expect classic, there is no beginning, middle, end”: Moonage Daydream by Brett Morgen, already director of a documentary on Kurt Cobain, breaks the rules of the genre around David Bowie. Forget the classic formats with experts or relatives of the interpreter of Heroes filmed in recording studios. Here, we only hear and see Bowie speak, with unpublished archives that are not divided chronologically, but by themes (the creative process, art and money, etc.).
Synthetic images have been specially created to punctuate the chapters, playing on space and the stars. Obviously for an artist who had created the astronaut character of Major Tom from his song Space Oddity. Between these visuals and 48 remastered songs by the interpreter of Let’s Dance, the viewer experiences what comes close to an “immersive experience, like in a planetarium”, in the words of Brett Morgen, whose documentary is presented out of competition him too. This American, who had signed Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, of more traditional invoice, delivers on an exalted tone. This work took him five years and is the first of its kind authorized by Bowie’s heirs since his disappearance in 2016. They let Morgen open the treasure chests.
The singer of Aladdin Sane and the actor of The man who came from elsewhere has “enormously counted at several periods of my life”, explains the filmmaker. “First at 11-12 years old, in puberty, when I discovered it, it was powerful at a time when I wanted to be me, not my parents,” he continues. He then met him in the 2000s for a project: “It was not the time for him, thank God, because I was not yet where I had to be for a film on Bowie. “When the creator of Ziggy Stardust died, he was ready, in particular, to blow up the frame of the documentary. One of the people in charge of Bowie’s legacy confided to him “that David collected and preserved his archives”. And then Morgen (53 years old today) has a heart attack and falls into a coma. Restored, “the philosophy, the words, the art of Bowie” resonated more than ever in him. “Death, reincarnation, Bowie talked about it from the start (…)” he insists, drawing a parallel with the phrasing of Blackstar, the title track of the Briton’s final album, which also talks about death and death. legacy to be left through creation. Moonage Daydream thus focuses on the appetites for life of an artist with 1,000 faces.
His manager comes from the carnival and the career of the singer was a roller coaster, with peaks and abysses: Elvis, biopic carried by the revelation Austin Butler, in the title role, and Tom Hanks, was presented Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival .As in an amusement park, the viewer does not see the 2h39 of the feature film by Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann pass. The…
We would love to thank the author of this write-up for this outstanding material
Cannes Film Festival: Elvis in an infernal merry-go-round, Jerry Lee Lewis between octaves and bass
You can find our social media pages here and other related pages herehttps://nimblespirit.com/related-pages/