Damien Chazelle’s remarkable debut feature Whiplash might’ve been a film about music, but there’s something decidedly un-musical about watching a man abuse a younger man with military precision over the pursuit of higher jazz ideals. Yet there’s a vicious, relentless hum to the entirety of that much-lauded film that will likely serve Chazelle well as he tackles a different, more traditional kind of musical. The Old Hollywood kind.
La La Land reunites Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as the leads in what Chazelle appears to have envisioned as a Los Angeles that’s at once lustrously traditional, slickly modern, and jumping around a few decades in between those points as well. Not much is known about the film as of yet beyond an official synopsis suggesting that the two, respectively a jazz pianist and an aspiring actress, are ” … drawn together by their common desire to do what they love. But as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.”
Some of the trailer’s more striking images call to mind a wide-lensed Astaire/Rogers escapade, while some of the more melancholic visuals suggest something closer to the more pensive, muted earth tones and unforgiving bright lights of Whiplash. In any case, it’s an exciting teaser, with a seriously catchy snippet of a tune in “City of Stars”; that song is now already available on iTunes and TIDAL, as well. It’s also a suggestion that 2016 will be a banner year for Gosling falling into pools.
La La Land will start rolling out in limited release on December 2nd, and yes indeed that does just happen to be peak Oscar season. How about that. In any case, check out the film’s lovely first trailer up above.