In 2013, Damien Chazelle arrived into Sundance Film Festival with “Whiplash,” a drama about a young drummer trying to please his tyrant teacher, and left with the festival’s audience and jury awards, and later went on to collect four Oscars. This September, his musical “La La Land,” was instantly proclaimed the best movie of the year by critics when it opened the Venice International Film Festival and topped the predictions of winning the Oscar for Best Picture.
In this interview with the BBC, the 31-year-old director reveals that “La La Land” was his first project, but he couldn’t get funding, so he made a smaller movie, Whiplash, in order to gain the industry’s attention and trust. And while “Whiplash,” was based on his experience in her early life when he was trying to build a music career, “La La Land” deals with the dreams he had when he was struggling to make it in LA, to which he relocated after graduating from Harvard in 2007. “It’s very personal to me,” he remarks.
Studios are wary of musicals and rarely make them unless they attain success in theatre, but Chazelle insisted on telling the romantic story of two struggling artists in this genre and eventually got the greenlight to do it. “Musicals are the best genre to examine dreams vs reality,” he says. “You go in and out of a song just like you get in and out of a dream or a fantasy.”
Indeed, ‘La La Land” shows that we endure our grim reality in order to live our beautiful dreams.