Chazelle’s “Babylon” in Film: The Fall of the Silent Film Empire


ein a movie that lasts 3 hours Hollywood What it is, its origins, its promiscuity, its victims, its splendor, calls for a strong opening chord. not. Because on the one hand, it’s all about the movie and the world as a whole. But on the other hand, it’s about a world with all the hallmarks of an oversized counterfeit workshop.

The magic of movie illusions is just that you believe it. In a story about Hollywood history, it’s broken. The view of the machine hall of the dream factory has a kind of rehabilitative effect, no matter how much eye candy flows from the conveyor belt in front. The only chance the movie has to postpone this effect is in acceleration. He is always one step ahead of disillusionment until disillusionment finally catches up with him.

Damien Chazelle’s Babylon begins with a transportation problem. An elephant is taken to a house in the Hollywood Hills. Loading a rickety pickup he has to help production assistant Manny (Diego Calva) push the truck because it is stuck on a slope. Suddenly, the pachyderm unloads its gut contents directly onto Manny and the camera. An ideal start to a film that deals with the excesses of life and art. The worst mess has already happened.

In the next scene, “Babylon” heats up. A party is held at the producer’s mansion and the elephant is just one of many accessories he has. Dancing, drinking, mating, champagne rivers with cocaine clouds, silent movie star Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt) let’s pay tribute to his fans. Then the first corpse appears, but before the atmosphere changes, a blonde woman in a bright red dress emerges from the darkness. She shakes her leg until the crowd carries her, and when Manny asks if she wants to be a star, star Nellie Laroy (Margot Robbie) replies whether you are or not. At Dawn’s invitation, she gets into her car at dawn.

The movie should really slow down after this prelude. The party is over, it’s time for movies and their routines. But Chazelle doesn’t even consider switching from ecstatic narrative mode to expository narrative mode. As a continuation of the hustle and bustle of the night, he stages everyday life in Hollywood. Not just one, but four of his film sets are being shot simultaneously at the fictional Kinoscope Studios. At the same time, a crusade epic starring Jack Conrad is being produced in the hills of Los Angeles.

After the climax the movie starts to fall apart

And it’s only now that you really realize that you’re in the midday heat of the silent film era, 1926. Because these movies have screams not only in front of the camera, but also behind the camera, without a script and without regard to microphones on sets that don’t yet exist. In Chazelle’s work, the soundless world of cinema is the realm of freedom, his four films in the chaos of a knightly battle when the last of his cameras gives up a ghost. only at risk. The sun was just setting on the horizon when Manny, who had been sent out to find a replacement, returned hours later. The scene where Jack Conrad kisses his film partner in the Last Daylight is a masterpiece of parallel montage. Because, at the same time, Nellie Laroy squeezes her tears out of her eyes on the set of a cowboy movie, which crowns her first appearance. The girl who fell in the wild west. By nightfall in Hollywood, she’s a star.

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