WRITTEN BY JIAHUI HUA
La La Land(2016) is the story of a young man trying to bring back jazz for a new age, in a movie by a young director trying to bring back the musical for a new age.
Since 2000s, no matter in television programmes, Disney cartoons or other genres of films, musical films especially American musical films have always shown old-fashioned singing and dancing like “Glee” (2009) and “High School Musical” (2006). And most of them have been designed for kids for a long time. Therefore, I think the reasons of American musical film felling out of favour are mainly the technological system and audience tastes. As Casetti states that “cinema is not only a ‘machine’: it is also an experience in which other factors – cultural, social, aesthetic – play a role.” (Casetti, F. 2015) From its Hollywood storytelling and Broadway “song plot”, I think it should be a modern story told in a classic style and “La La Land” would make audiences to see American musicals with different eyes.
Although director Damien Chazelle gets inspirations from classical Hollywood musicals, “La La Land” shows the convergence culture of Hollywood and French New Wave. As Jenkins states that, “convergence represents an expanded opportunity for media conglomerates, since content that succeeds in one sector can spread across other platforms” (Jenkins, H. 2006, p19). Like when Mia and Sebastian walk into one of those sets that turn reality into an Impressionistic backdrop, in this case, a city that’s distilled into the “Hollywood” sign.
As “La La Land” has won seven Golden Globes in January 2017, in last Sunday, it scooped up five EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs), adding some fuel to its fire as it continues unstoppable toward what is viewed as a likely victory at the Oscars later this month.
Casetti, F. (2015). The Lumiere Galaxy: 7 Key words for the cinema to come. New York: Columbia University Press.
Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where old and new media collide. New York and London: New York University Press.
Bordwell, D. (2017). LA LA LAND: Singin’ in the sun http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2017/02/11/la-la-land-singin-in-the-sun/ [Accessed 15th February]