This article by Rolling Stone writer David Fear, who shares his thoughts on new releases every Friday in the magazine and the website, is quite special to me. It’s titled ‘why is A Star is Born so indestructible?’ and adds to the canon of film writing about the latest celebrated iteration of this tale which actually goes back to 1937. Read to know more.
( the following are few of my own thoughts about the latest A STAR IS BORN)
2018 has left most of the film world raving about the Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper feature A STAR IS BORN that dives headlong into ideas of chance, fate, success, love and most ingeniously deals with music as the driving force of a seemingly battered inner world. Music as a soul stirring gift that keeps on giving even when our realities are at odds with the songcraft we share with masses. Thank God, I had read quite a lot few years back about how every twenty or thirty years, the pulse of the era and popular culture celebrated the validity of this script with the first A STAR IS BORN appearing in 1937, the second in 1954 and the one that I latched onto most prominently was the 1976 version, due in large part to two songs by nightingale Barbra Streisand: WOMAN IN LOVE and EVERGREEN that I revere for their sensual charms and swoop of the vocals that could take flights in any direction. So reading the above article by Mr. Fear was a heads up.
I’ll be honest here, knowing the background to this franchise that has been around for multiple generations was a good starting point till the 2018 version came to my immediate notice ( think about how joyful it will be if differently aged members of a family talk about how each one of them had seen one version in their youth within the period in which the respective films released ) ; it’s like a binding thread.
So the first time I saw the soulful trailer, I was hooked and returned to its simplicity and cadences thrice. Of course the raison d’etre was the high notes by Gaga from the now classic staple SHALLOW that is easily one of the favourites world over now . To me, the opening song MAYBE IT’S TIME sung by the film’s director and actor, the ever dependable Bradley Cooper, set things in perfect perspective about how like the best kind of films I adhere to, realism had been kept as a premium and in this two minute snapshot, Gaga’s thoughts on the idea of appearances, Cooper’s ‘trust me’ refrain, Dave Chappelle’s single line conveying multitudes to Sam Eliot and Anthony Ramos making their presence felt mattered to me . Then there is the idea of Stefani Germanotta – Lady Gaga, yes- arresting us with her big screen debut.
I am sad to say I could not watch it in its limited release in my metropolitan city due to the frustration of it not seeing wide release and I being under the weather. But I will relish the experience of this film pretty soon, that I am sure of. I have heard the songs, seen the mini clips and reveled in the unanimous praise heaped upon everybody associated with this passion project and labour of love. As a cinephile, it warms my heart that true and pure efforts have borne fruits for them, in an era where negativities of the mainstream have dented progress elsewhere .
Do let me know as readers and cinephiles if you have seen it and of your general views as well. I conclude with sterling lyrics from SHALLOW from the film,
“I’m off the deep end,
Watch as I dive in
I’ll never meet the ground.
WE’RE FAR FROM THE SHALLOW NOW”