Review: La La Land

Review: La La Land

have you seen la la land

it’s the movie everyone’s talking about

it’s

“iconic”

“heartfelt”

“funny”

“charming”

“accomplished”

i passed a family on a walk yesterday

they were singing all of them

the music from the opening sequence

another day of sun

another film of fun

i entered the cinema with high expectations

and over priced popcorn

sat hidden in the dark with my thoughts racing

ryan gosling plays seb

a jazz musician

also plays the piano

(fine)

practises by playing improvisations along with

this record of thelonious monk

(a little strange)

explains

mansplains

whitesplains

the story of jazz

to mia (emma stone’s role)

with no reference to black history

(mystery)

jazz just happened

it’s a natural phenomenon

he speaks over the black musicians

in the jazz club he’s brought her to

he doesn’t tell her that you can trace

monk’s lineage back four generations

to slavery in north carolina

(while his own ancestors ate apple pie)

he doesn’t tell her

that jazz was born of struggle (not his)

he wants ‘pure’ jazz

and only he knows how to save it

never mind

that jazz started a struggle against

the white imperialism

that tells him he can appropriate and ameliorate

there’s john legend, he’s keith

the only black musician in the movie with a voice

what a shame he doesn’t understand jazz

doesn’t know seb’s struggle

how dare he take control of his own music

by allowing it to develop organically into

something new

while seb would ossify

stultify

into passionless elevator music:

city of stars

to enjoy this film you must be

born a certain person

immune to erasure

white

like the colgate you would need

to brush your teeth from the sugared soundtrack

oh nostalgia furs, obscures

like mould or cholesterol

nostalgia for a history that never existed

days of sun only for those who could walk freely

but that’s who this movie is for

dangerous game

to play for fame

representation traded

for eleven bafta nominations

in an america where

at least two hundred and fifty eight black people were killed

by the police in 2016

where today an elected man is trying to enforce

a human ban

criticised by the film’s director

from inside his own la la land

Fatima Lahham is the founding editor of Revoice! Magazine. She’s also a freelance recorder player. Follow her on Twitter @binkle993.

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