As another summer comes around, the Museo moves its cinema outside and into the Sabatini Building. This fresh edition is centred on musical films, viewed at once as a genre which is both playful and high-spirited and also a discourse which incorporates striking ruptures in formats and narratives.
The series, which casts light on a particular theme every weekend, foregrounds a series of categories which overhaul the concept of “musical”. Queer versions, with proudly homosexual protagonists and themes; Afro works, with dance styles such as the Charleston, music forms like jazz and disturbing stories, such as the international trafficking of African slaves; traditional Spanish variants, in which flamenco and zarzuela are replaced and mixed with a Broadway aesthetic; working-class endeavours, in which choreographic zeal interrupts the mechanical regime of the factory; or feminist revisions by women film-makers that transform male narrations traditionally associated with this film discourse.
Therefore, a lavish contemporary return of the musical, a multi-faceted genre, is under way. Leos Carax (France, 1960), one of the great film-makers of our time, anticipated the cause for this reappearance with Annette, a film which opened Cannes in 2021 and won him the award for best director. As with the Golden Age of Hollywood — roughly in the period spanning the end of the 1920s to 1960 — the musical was about the search for happiness, and it is unsurprising that the genre had its own manifestations in India and the USSR, countries at opposite poles, ideologically, to Hollywood but with the same desire for collective joy, and has not undergone constant mutations in the present day. What better way to dream of happiness and its ideals than to delve deeper into the public display of this search, into the musical.