Great news for fans of French cinema and Adam Driver’s rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Being Alive”: The trailer for Annette, French director Leos Carax’s latest feature film (and English-language debut) has been released and it’s a musical. Annette, which will open the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, respectively follows Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver as Ann DelGreco, a renown soprano singer, and Henry McHenry, a provocative stand-up comedian.
This singer girlfriend/stand-up comedian boyfriend art couple’s love is at the fore of the film. In a quintessential Adam Driver-esque pensive, brooding voice over, Henry reveals that “the first time [he] fell in love, [he] woke up next to the girl and escaped fast and far.” Henry and Ann can be seen in Annette’s trailer riding together on motorcycles and even braving the unpredictable rocky waves of the sea together, in a scene that’s complexities were so pertinent to Driver, that it was the closing anecdote of a 2019 New Yorker profile on him.
Based on the drama of Henry’s dialogue and the sweeping glimpses of imagery the trailer offers of Henry and Ann’s relationship, it’s likely that Annette will explore the tumult and complications of romantic love that Carax has a habit of centering in his feature work. However, the crux of the film is about Henry and Ann’s daughter, Annette, a girl who is born with extraordinary gifts.
The trailer gestures towards these larger plot points enough to familiarize the audience with Annette’s premise without revealing what makes Annette so special. And that’s how you stoke curiosity, folks. Despite the tiny central cast—Driver, Cotillard and Simon Helberg as symphony conductor called The Conductor—the trailer also frequently cuts to Ann and Henry’s respective audiences who are bathed in green and blue lights, singing and swaying in unison. It is clear that Carax’s story will focus on a family, but perhaps it will also explore the nadirs of fame and spectacle through the film’s musical elements by allowing the audience of the main characters to also share some of the spotlight.
Sparks, the American pop-rock duo, collaborated with Carax to create the music of the film and appear in Annette’s trailer, which you can see here: