It is no secret to anyone that Damien Chazelle has a strong obsession with the Hollywood of the past. He already demonstrated it with his award-winning La La Land or with his film whiplash. Now the director returns to the big screen with Babylon, a feature film that will premiere on January 19 starring Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt. Prior to the launch, a behind-the-scenes video was released in which the American filmmaker seeks to show “the depravity and debauchery” of the Mecca of Cinema in the 1920s.
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In the new video released by Paramount Pictures, Chazelle can be seen highlighting that this is the biggest project in which he has been involved so far, since it is his first large-scale work and explained that what he seeks to do with this production it was to make fun of the Hollywood of those years. In the preview titled “Welcome to Babylon,” Damien described the film as a story that also seeks to honor those who laid the foundations in Los Angeles.
The film is set at a particularly volatile time in Hollywood history, when the film industry was transitioning from the silent era to talkies. The plot is told from the perspective of a humble assistant named Manny, played by Mexican actor Diego Calva. “He is our guide through the story,” Chazelle said in the video. “He is our eyes and ears through an outsider’s point of view.” The cast also includes superstars like Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt, who return to work together after the production of Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
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“The story follows various characters who have ambitions to be a part of something bigger than themselves,” Pitt says behind the scenes. Meanwhile, Robbie describes her character Nellie as “a tornado. Nellie is a determined young actress, who is proud of the fact that she put it on her own terms,” Robbie detailed. Pitt concludes by calling the film a true “epic.” He added: “It’s funny sometimes, it’s sexy sometimes; the movie is so big,” about shots of wild parties, car chases, and a random alligator. We also see glimpses of the central characters working on a period epic in the desert and engaging in all sorts of questionable behavior as they struggle to be seen and heard amidst the chaos.
The film had a special screening for the press on November 14 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills and the first reactions were immediate. The new work is having contrasting reviews, a kind of mix between charm and annoyance. Critics of the drama range from considering it wonderful to a pretentious production that leads nowhere. Among the adjectives are “daring epic” and “monstrous disaster”, which indicate that it will be Damien’s most controversial film.
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“Babylon feels like someone read Damien Chazelle the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and then said, ‘Hold my beer!’ High-octane, cocaine-inducing trip. The first half is great. Probably the internet’s new favorite movie of all time. Margot Robbie and Justin Hurwitz are your stars,” said Clayton Davis of Variety.
“Truly monstrous in its insistence on shoving the viewer’s face into the mud and claiming it’s something novel or moving; Chazelle might be the most confident director in Hollywood today, of course, he also has some of the worst instincts around. Too many things to criticize this (it literally starts with a Mexican being shit by an elephant and goes on from there) but special shame must go to the end, a shameless play on illogical importance and somehow an even more insulting tribute to Godard than Hazanavicius.” , noted Ryan Swen of The Film Critics.
Babylon also stars Jean Smart, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, PJ Byrne, Lukas Haas, Olivia Hamilton, Tobey Maguire, Max Minghella, Rory Scovel, Katherine Waterston, Flea, Jeff Garlin, Eric Roberts, Ethan Suplee, Samara Weaving, and Olivia Wilde. The film will be released in theaters in Latin America on January 19, 2023.
Before this new job arrives, you can enjoy La La Land: A Love Story, which is available at HBO Max Y Paramount+.