The Shock of the Future

 

starstarstar

 


Marc Collin’s first feature, released here last September, debuts at the SXSW Festival (online).

 

Shock of the Future

Alma Jodorowsky

 

There are few things more alluring to an artist than creating a work of art that explores the struggle endured to create it. Marc Collin's debut feature is almost entirely concerned with the idea of artist's block, and the place it occupies in the creative process. 

Ana (played by Alma Jodorowsky, with vigorous spirit) is a young musician living in late-70s’ Paris, and a very frustrated person. Her career is nowhere near the place she wants it to be. She isn't taken seriously as a musician or professional due to her gender. But worst of all, she loathes the current state of music. There have been countless films about the music industry that delve deeply into the commodification of art, the narcissism of artists (men) who find themselves lucky enough to be successful, the ambitious young renegades who seek to topple the hierarchy and revolutionize the industry if only they would be given the chance. 

 

Although The Shock of the Future does little to experiment with the formula that films such as Almost Famous, Cadillac Records, and Dreamgirls have established, it does seek to pay tribute to the female pioneers of the electronic music scene that would soon explode in popularity. Covering this niche adds a bit of much needed distinguishing character to the story, and allows thoroughly tread ground to feel moderately fresh. 

 

From a technical perspective, the film is competent. Much of the narrative takes place in Ana's home/studio, creating a claustrophobic texture that allows the audience to properly experience her stress and anxiety. The first half deals almost exclusively with Ana's lack of creative output, and a series of conversations she has with industry professionals (again, men) who do not seek nor understand her point of view. It sets the tone and dramatic tension well, but quickly becomes repetitive, and dangerously approaches tedium.

 

The narrative truly comes alive once Clara (played with excessive charm by Clara Luciani) arrives, and the two women impulsively start a creative partnership. Their interactions free up the dialogue, the action, even the film's diegetic use of music. Life has finally been brought to the screen. The issue is that Clara's arrival doesn't occur until almost halfway into the film's running time. The argument can certainly be made for the intentionality of this choice, but a payoff is only as good as the set-up, and some work could have been done to create a more consistent tone throughout. 

 

Overall, The Shock of the Future is decent. There are one too many speeches concerning the difficulty in pursuing a creative profession, and none of those speeches have anything groundbreaking to contribute to the conversation. Still, there is a fun and spunky story underneath it all, with excellent music and respectable performances. If only there wasn’t this troubling, pervasive feeling that the women this film is dedicated to deserve better. 

 

Original title: Le choc du futur.

 

CALEB JOHN CUSHING

 

 

Cast: Alma Jodorowsky, Philippe Rebbot, Geoffrey Carey, Teddy Melis, Clara Luciani, Laurent Papot, Nicolas Ullmann, Xavier Berlioz, Corine, Elli Medeiros.

 

Dir Marc Collin, Pro Marc Collin, Nicolas Jourdier and Gaelle Ruffier, Screenplay Marc Collin and Elina Gakou Gomba, Ph Stefano Forlini, Ed Yann Malcor, Pro Des Marco Melaragni, M Marc Collin.

 

A Perfect Kiss Films/Sogni Vera Films/Nebo Prods-606 Distribution.

84 mins. France. 2019. Rel: 13 September 2019. SXSW debut: 28 April 2020. Cert. 15.