Damien Chazelle was born on January 19, 1985 a Providence in Rhode Island, but grows a Princeton in New Jersey where the parents, both professors, teach.
Cinema was Damien Chazelle’s first great love even though during his adolescence he concentrated on another great passion of his that he will never abandon and which will subsequently also influence his career and his works: music.
Over the years he has been attending the Princeton High School tries to make his way in this world as a jazz drummer, but once he has become aware of his actual potential he returns to take the road that will lead him to the world of cinematographic films, attending the Visual and Environmental Studies department of Harvardwhere he graduated in 2007.
Immediately after graduating Damien Chazelle made his first feature film, Guy and Madeline on a Park Benchit is a self-produced black and white film of which he also takes care of the writing and part of the editing.
In this film where jazz music plays a primary role, the reference to the tradition of the gods is evident MGM musicals with a vérité style, full of close-ups. A style that Chazelle will not abandon in the following films, but will refine more and more making it part of his authorial brand.
After some experiences as a screenwriter, in 2013 he presented a short film at the Sundance Film Festival, Whiplash, inspired by his experiences as a high school drummer, the short film wins the category award. After the short film, the following year a feature film starting from the same subject makes a feature film which obtains great general approval and brings home five nominations for the Academy Award and three victories.
The year of effective consecration for the young director is 2017, thanks to the musical film La La Land with which he enchants critics and the public, obtains numerous awards and the conquest of the coveted statue of the‘Oscars for best director.
With the following film Damien Chazelle chooses to move into new territory, and dedicates himself to the creation of a biophic on the life of Neil Armstrong starring Ryan Gosling which hits theaters in 2018 under the title First Man – The first man, film that once again convinces for the directorial choices and for the staging.
But Chazelle’s filmography does not stop there, a few days ago his latest work also arrived in Italian cinemas Babylon, with which the director reaches the quota of five active feature films.
In this article we will try to tell some of Damien Chazelle’s works, reporting a personal ranking of the three films that we consider the best: the ones not to be missed.
3. Babylon (2022)
Babylon released in US theaters on December 23, 2022 and arriving in the rest of the world between January 19 and 20, 2023, it is the latest film by Damien Chazelle.
The film revolves around the events of Manuel “Manny” Torres (Diego Calva), Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie) and Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt), three characters through whom we are introduced and catapulted into the version fictionalized and amplified by Chazelle from Hollywood of the years Winds.
Each of them manages to experience that crazy magic, to take part in the great dream machine in a different way. But as well as dreams also the golden years of silent cinema are destined to end, together with the success of the stars who represented it.
Damien Chazelle starts from the history of cinema, from true events such as the upheaval of the film industry with the advent of sonorous and shows first the rise and then the slow and inexorable decline of some of the glitzy personalities, parts of that world.
This is a film that does not make discounts, Chazelle already in the very first sequences makes it clear to the viewer that there will be no kindness or kindness, the images and the narration have a very specific direction, decidedly exaggerated and exaggerated, but in the end it is up to us viewers the task to interpret and subsequently decide whether to appreciate or not.
Surely we are not dealing with the director’s most successful film but going beyond the hesitations and the numerous criticisms received we are still dealing with a film that is worth seeing.
2. Whiplash (2014)
Whiplash released in 2014 is the second feature film written and directed by Damien Chazelle and it can undoubtedly be considered his first real great success.
The film tells the story of an ambitious young jazz drummer (Miles Telle), who studies in a prestigious school and that of his charismatic but also uncompromising and strict teacher (JK Simmons).
This story comes to life based on the director’s actual experience when he studied music as a teenager and dreamed of becoming a successful drummer.
Damien Chazelle also stated that for the character of Terence Fletcher he was inspired by his teacher at the time, who was really very strict and demanding.
Whiplash was very successful and received five nominations for theOscars and three victories. Damien Chazelle received the statuette for best non-original screenplay (the year before the director had made a short film of the same name with part of the same screenplay) and JK Simmons was awarded for his performance as best supporting actor.
The young director packs a film with a sure form, a perfectly centered direction and excellent cinematography, which is particularly striking also thanks to the incredibly convincing interpretations of the two protagonists.
1. La La Land (2016)
On December 6, 2016, the third work by Damien ChazelleLa La Land, a musical film written and directed by the director.
What Chezelle tells us is a love story born between coincidences and shared dreams against the backdrop of a Los Angeles which seems to have gone back a bit in time.
My (Emma Stone) e Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) are deep down two dreamers, both have a goal that they strongly desire to achieve even if the fear of never being able to achieve it returns every time something unexpected happens.
Mia wants to be an actress, Sebastian open his own jazz club and they try to achieve these goals together until they realize that the only way to really succeed is to go their separate ways.
The consensus from critics and the public is practically unanimous and La La Land it was very well received. The film garnered over numerous awards and well 14 Oscar nominations. During the 89th ceremony of awards of Academy Awards in addition to the victory in 6 categoriesDamien Chazelle received the coveted statuette for the best director.
La La Land it is a real merry-go-round of emotions but it is also the result of masterful work on a technical and visual level. It is a mature film, full of references to films and genres that have made history and which does not fail to be realistic and nostalgic.