After a passage on the other side of the Atlantic with New York Melody, in which Keira Knightley embarked on the creation of an original album by way of the foot of the nose to her ex, John Carney returns to his native Ireland with SING STREET.
Revealed by Once, where a couple is formed around their passion for music, the producer (and former bassist) keeps the same will (own the three movies) to build up his work between traditional narrative and musical passages, at times reminiscent of video clips. In spite of its sensitivity, Once there was in this omnipresence of music it was his main fault. Because when the music failed to interest, boredom did not win in the face of a history limited to too few things. New York Melody of his side proves to be much more pleasant, thanks to a scenario more consistent (characters and sub-plots varied). With SING STREET , the director is continuing his experimentation of the music in a film work. But this time, it is going to draw on his own experience that it manages, both to justify and make it obvious this musical use, and we are captivated by a rich history and intimate and full of freshness.
In Dublin, in the 1980s, while Ireland, in full economic recession, which has seen its population to immigrate in mass to England in the hope of finding work, the young Conor, fifteen years, change of school to a christian school public where reigns the law of the stronger ; pupils and teachers alike. Inspired by the clips of ” Top of the Pops of the time, Conor monte is a group primarily for the purpose of spending time with Raphina, a young mysterious girl who lives in front of his school, and who became soon his muse and the actress of his clips.
With this story of romance as a teenager, John Carney departs drastically from his previous achievements and offers this time a real original story – without being autobiographical, his previous films leave too much glimpse of the closeness between the fantasies of the director/composer and his works – where the identification becomes natural. Because the music is not simply a way for Conor to seduce the beautiful Raphina (sublime and enchanting Lucy Boynton), but rather a tool of construction in an age filled with indecision. This will include the style of dress as a music group (and Conor). By alternating the pop way Duran Duran the look of David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust, of course), passing by the gothic style of the Cure, Conor becomes a representation of the popular music of the 1990’s in Great Britain. These same music that accompany precisely the film. While it is not being used as original compositions for the Ounce and New York Melody (written in collaboration), Carney offers this time of music additional perfect, from the Clash to Motorhead through The Jam or a-ha, who come to engraft the universe and the thematic of SING STREET.
“A rich history and intimate, full of freshness.”
Of course as every teenager Conor is looking for. And on the advice of his big brother, who introduced him to the music, Conor evolves and learns to understand his feelings, and to be used for the creation of his music. Even so, the director avoids falling into the cliché of ” the teenager looser but endearing, martyred by the gross the high school.” On the contrary, it offers a young man who was not cold in the eyes and not be afraid to oppose the authority – the Clash singing I Faught The Law then appears as an evidence in his opposition with his principal teacher.
We thus find in SING STREET, the same will of the director to put images of real video clips. If we remain skeptical on the repeated use of this process for New York Melody, the filmmaker has here is the perfect topic to be able to experiment as much as a tribute. Because it is as much in its soundtrack particularly thoughtful – in general the compositions seem to come straight out of the 1980s – that in his realization that Carney manages to reproduce the atmosphere of the original. The looks of his characters, to the places used as settings for the clips, we discover the birth of what could be a real irish group of the 1980s.
By managing to keep us in the rhythm during these musical passages – where it will enable even a nice reference to Back to the future and to The Fury of living – the director avoids the worry sets in, as sometimes this may be the case with Oz or New York Melody. Evidence of the maturity and the experience acquired by the director. It makes us follow the short adventure of Conor with much humor, tenderness, and drama. A perfect blend obtained by the development of the characters that accompany his main protagonist. His parents, who do not cease to be in conflict and are preparing to separate, forgetting the affect on their children. His brother, full of regret, never having been able to live his passion as Conor and sees the latter go beyond it. And, of course, Raphina, full of distress and whose decisions are rarely sound. SING STREET will appear in the end as the continuity of the previous two films of Carney, with more control and a personal sensitivity still higher.
Read our interview with the actress Lucy Boynton
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