Elvis, further, taller, stronger…and kitsch


Director Baz Luhrmann presents his macro-project on The King of Rock at Cannes in a dazzling visual and sound exercise that, who would have thought, lacking rhythm

Tom Hanks, Austin Butler and Baz Luhrmann in presentation
Tom Hanks, Austin Butler and Baz Luhrmann in a presentation of ‘Elvis’ at the Cannes Film Festival.Christophe SimonAFP

John Waters said that having an excellent palate is essential to appreciate what bad taste is worth. In his classic study’Kitch‘Susan Sontag adds to that sensibility’Camp‘ (which doesn’t equate to bad taste, but doesn’t despise it either) sees everything in quotes (or in italics). And so the whole world becomes a representation of itself which gives meaning to it in a game of mirrors as if modeled by matters Irony, humor, parody, pastiche, artifice, dramatization and exaggeration. And this you shine Add goat. When we stand in frontSon of a dog‘, Jeff Koons’ giant dog, located on the outdoor terrace of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, we don’t actually see a dog, we see “a dog” (in quotes and italics), we see a giant West Highland terrier in bloom What he calls the elitist culture of Galli that protects popular culture of optimistic sentimentality. it is ‘Kitch‘ for the list.

baz luhrmann He’s one of all directors who knows how to use quotation marks better and with more grace (and money). And it was only a matter of time before he met Elvis, who was not only the king of rock and roll, but whatever stirred, whatever went on, whatever sparkled. No shape, so it’s bigger than it’s size Son of a doghas depressed the culture so excitingly that it was so happy in the ironic game of being the exact opposite of what it was: a real devil who has been taught morals, customs, and rhythms in the skin of a white angel born in Tupelo. was called to bring about revolution.

From the first seconds, with the production company’s lyrics as if it were a crazy creation by Swarovski (my knowledge of jewelry isn’t far enough), the film makes it clear what it wants. This is not a biopic to be used as a biopic, then everything in uppercase. Directors ask us what their cinema has always done: that we take ourselves away from both the deeper meaning of the story told and the calligraphy of the text. everything, absolutely everything, inelvis‘ is written in italics.

On paper, the film explores the twenty-year relationship between the young singer and his enigmatic manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker. Actor, singer and model aside Austin Butler like a king; of another, forever legendary Tom Hanks In the role of a squire stuffed into a second skin that devoured everything. The impossible mission of approaching a unique and irreplaceable creature is accomplished with criteria and maximum effort. The other simply lets himself go, happy to be able to be the bad guy in the movie (he’s rarely allowed). All told: The first time he set foot on Sun Records was in 1954, until his death in Memphis at the age of 42 due to an acute myocardial infarction (much of that and probably a lot of misery mixed with codeine). Stops are also common: his movie tour, the Satellite World concert of 1973, drugs, the Christmas concert that was not Christmas, Las Vegas, his eternal relationship with Priscilla suddenly broke up …

again, as director of cinematographic baroque jewelry ‘Romeo + Juliet de William Shakespeare’, ‘Moulin Rouge’ You ‘the great Gatsby’With which he opened Cannes in 2013, once again demonstrating his ability to multiply the screen into a prism worthy of Escher in which it is impossible to trace the cardinal points, what is above and what is below. Luhrmann’s cinema is weightless in its motley and deep in superficiality. circular and enveloping. Attention to every detail and the right way to sound each note turn the film into a visual and sound journey that goes from analog honesty to digital cleanliness. And always be aware that what is seen is not so much a representation of a dream. Pure ‘Kitch, Puro Luhrmann.

Austin Butler in a moment from 'Elvis'.
Austin Butler in a moment from ‘Elvis’.

However, problems start shortly after the film starts. And all of them (big surprise for who it is) are his complete lack of rhythm. The film navigates from event to event with the reluctance of a biopic whose only meaning was to cover the stages. The Colonel’s portrait, which on paper gives an angle or point of view to the story, is actually confined to acting as a ‘activist’.slavery’ Or a simple trash can in which to lay the blame on an idol who has suddenly become a saint and a martyr. Far from what the director achieved in this adaptation of the Scott Fitzgerald novel, where the unreliable narrator of the text was masterfully incorporated into the film’s style, Now it seems that the script is at least repeated in its immaculate splendour.

It is true that the light is so great and so blind that sometimes nothing remains but surrender. Luhrmann understands, and makes it known in every shot, the precise shape and ultimate meaning of myth which was at the same time irony, humour, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality, exaggeration and above all, genius. Elvis forward, tall, strong… and infinitely ‘kitsch’. In Latin, Elvis, Fast, dark, strong… kitschy

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