All That Jazz – On “Guy and Madeline on the Park Bench”

Watching an indie musical movie that digs out of your most sincere affections to cinema felt like love is in the air: The ingenious Damien Chazelle`s debut picture Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench routes out French Nouvelle Vague Musicals such as Une Femme C`est Une Femme by Goddard, or Les Parapluies de Cherbourg and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort by Jacques Demy  – There literally is a french number in the song-lists, created by Chazelle himself (among all other numbers of the film). Moreover odes to Shadows by “John Cassavetes” and The Green Ray by “Eric Rohmer” in directing and mise-en-scene. Have you seen such genuine girl pick-up scence as Guy does to Elena in the tube?

The story revolves around the breakup of a jazz trumpeter, Guy (Jason Palmer), and a graduate student, Madeline (Desiree Garcia), after Guy gets involved with another woman, Elena (Sandha Khin). It’s the eternal story of love lost. In the aftermath, Guy continues to play gigs, though his relationship with Elena never sparks in the same way it did with Madeline. The directionless Madeline bops along and gets involved with another musician, eventually leaving Boston for New York.

Still, in a series of brainy, innovative fiction films displaying a bent for urban ethnography nurtured in Harvard’s undergraduate film program , Chazelle turned out to be the Rockstar among the others: Gordon Eriksen and John O’Brien’s The Big Dis  and Andrew Bujalski’s Funny Ha Ha. Comparing the art and vision in all the people of this clan, you realize why Whiplash became such a brilliant success (fingers are crossed for La La land) and figure out how all the recent attempts to bring back the glory days of vaudeville failed. The Hollywood Musical is survived after all, thanks to Mr Chazelle, and Justin Hurwitz.

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