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  Shock of the Future, The What The Bleep Do We Know?
Year: 2019
Director: Marc Collin
Stars: Alma Jodorowsky, Philippe Rebbot, Geoffrey Carey, Teddy Melis, Clara Luciani, Laurent Papot, Nicolas Ullman, Xavier Berlioz, Corine, Elli Medeiros
Genre: Drama, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: 1978, Paris, and in a cramped apartment that doubles as her studio, Ana (Alma Jodorowsky) awakens to face the day. She has been composing a soundtrack for a commercial for the past few weeks, or at least she is supposed to have, but the distractions of looking for inspiration through the records and tapes she owns and creating her own music have diverted her attention away from something she could be making a living from. Once she has hauled herself out of bed to do physical jerks while smoking her first cigarette of the day, all to the strains of her favourite electronic disco tunes of the moment, she realises she will have work as the answering machine messages multiply.

Marc Collin made his directorial debut with Le choc du futur, his self-styled tribute to the pioneers of electronic sounds that would come to dominate the landscape of pop and dance, as well as experimental. Oddly, while he had been working solidly in soundtracks and songwriting for over a decade, he was not making a biographical picture, at least not overtly as this was dedicated to the women who had made electro tunes what they were, and what they became: think Delia Derbyshire, Wendy Carlos, Laurie Spiegel or Clara Rockmore, if indeed you know who they are. If you don't, this was considered an invitation to find out more, and he included a handy list in the credits.

That was not to say the men were neglected, as every so often the film dropped in names that were obviously influences; the film started with Cerrone and Jean-Michel Jarre, we see Giorgio Moroder on the album sleeve to From Here to Eternity, and later when Ana's English pal shows up he brings with him a stash of records from the likes of Throbbing Gristle and The Human League, which send her into reveries. Funnily enough, she doesn't respond to Suicide, declaring them too close to rock 'n' roll, which she is pitting herself against, along with jazz and psychedelia, all of which according to her will be as dead as the dinosaurs as the future of the title advances steadily and inexorably.

Assuming you did not see this with an excellent speaker system, you could envisage the film as basically a filmed play, for it rarely ventured outside of Ana's apartment as she toils at her wall of equipment to make sounds that were pleasingly authentic in comparison to the genuine tracks from the time that we hear. Other characters do drop in, from the producer who has been phoning and is irate that she still hasn't completed her commission, to the singer who offers Ana the inspiration she needs to complete the song she has been feeling out with her machines by adding vocals. The men were not necessarily holding our heroine back, for her lack of decisiveness and awareness when she is onto a good thing tends to self-sabotage her, but then you'll get the engineer who arrives to tweak the equipment and asks for a kiss as reward (!).

The man who does the most damage, potentially, is the big shot she attempts to woo with her material, yet who dismisses her for frivolous reasons when we can see she would be taken a lot more seriously by him, and by extension the industry, had she been male. But if there's a growing futility to Ana's prospects, Collin steps in at the last moment to tell us not to be discouraged if we have the talent to express ourselves in the arts, and if the right people can acknowledge that you have a voice that should be heard, the sky's the limit. That creative process was as much paid tribute to as the women who sweated over it in their studios and at their instruments, something you imagine the director would know a lot about as Ana's mental exertions were very believable, probably drawn from his own experiences, and if you were more interested in the end result than the journey taken to reach it, then this might not appeal. On the other hand, if that process fascinated you, this was rich in atmosphere and the music was excellent.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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