At risk of beginning to sound like one of the many self-acclaimed film critics that have surfaced over the past couple of weeks, I regretfully announce that I too, am going to talk about La La Land.
While my inner sap refuses to believe that the ending was intentional (and that they clearly just created an extra 2 minutes of filming to fill some sort of ridiculous quota) the film as a whole had me gripped from the beginning, and still won’t let me go. While the little man who lives in my Spotify app must be sick of me pressing play on the soundtrack’s album, and my housemates probably know all the words to ‘A Lovely Night’ due to my nightly shower performances, it’s clear this production is something that isn’t going to leave the minds of everyone who’s seen it, including me, for a very long time.
As a dancer, I naturally find it hard to watch any form of movement and not allow my body to be sucked into the infectious rhythm it provides, and La La Land was no exception. With the opening scene being a 5-minute-long intro filled with a catchy tune, and numerous traffic jammers dancing on top of their stuck cars, I felt my hips already wiggling in my seat, and knew this would be a restless viewing. Lucky for me, after the first 45 minutes or so, the dance numbers died down to beautiful melodies and background music instead, allowing my hips and clammy hands a chance to recuperate before the end.
Yet even with lack of flowing movements and stunning lyrics, the film was still, visually eye catching. It was clear from the first second that colour was a character in itself, popping up in every frame; whether it be in the primary colours of the housemates’ dresses, or the dulled pastels across the sky in the backdrop of the budding romance’s first ‘flit’. Colour played a huge role, and for anyone who knows me, they know that I love colour [See my Media Collaborations and Projects page under Gallery to see my Second Year Film, Colour]. It’s inspired me to really focus in on the use of colour in frames for my Dissertation. In the short samples I have already created for my project, my colour palette seeming to focus on the dull, tin-like shade of blue from day to day travelling, and a wash of pink that clouded the sky of Bath a week or so ago, it’s magenta colour fading to crimson and lilac as the night deepened.
Colour is everywhere, and I intend to really hone in on its presence and focus in films. Not only was colour a huge factor towards my growing love for La La Land, but also the use of light in it too; as a shot panned across a room taking in one of the disheartened duo, the small glare from the lamp in the corner would flash across the screen quickly. Or even the lack of it was astounding; as Gosling would stroll across the peer at sundown, the salmon sky shading everything into a musky grey or pastel purple. This again, draws back on the wonders of colour, and ultimately proves how these two twin together so perfectly.
One final thing that I noticed, that I so desperately want to try and inject into my own independent project, is how ridiculously well maneuvered the camera was, in order to capture intense one shot scenes. The adaptable set of the apartment, the real-time slow motion of walking through a crowd, and the winding back and forth between cars at the start are all things that you don’t tend to appreciate until you fully realise the extent the camera crew went to in order to gain these shots.
As the story line picked up, the initial flare of ‘Hollywood pizazz’ began to die down slightly, but the instant flourish at the beginning of the film had a kind of substance I want to use, to grab viewers with my own work. Hence, why the pairing of Damien Chazelle’s directorship and Linus Sandgren’s cinematography will be key inspirations towards the making of my dissertation.