Thursday, April 21, 2016
John Carney | Sing Street
separating the song from its leap into being
by Douglas Messerli
John Carney (writer. composer with Gary Clark, and director) Sing Street / 2016
With seemingly equal ease, and simply to impress the slightly older girl Raphina (Lucy Boynton), who waits on a door stoop near the school each day, Conor determines to start up a band, determining to use the parentless Raphina in the video of their performance.
Pairing up with the multi-instrumentalist Eamon (Mark McKenna), a local black migrant, Ngig (Percy Chamuruka), and two younger musicians, the new band, playing on the street name where their school stands, suddenly becomes Sing Street, at first performing 1980s “covers.”
As Brendan hands his brother various different kinds of records, the group morphs from the style of Duran Duran to music influenced by The Cure, The Jam, Hall & Oates and Joe Jackson—the multi-talented Carney inserting the originals in between the new creations which he co-wrote with Gary Clark.
In a question and answer session with the four leads and the director after the film, Carney seemed to indicate that the only film musicals he truly loved were ones that appeared to mock the conventions of musical theater—works such as Singing in the Rain and Guys and Dolls, describing Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons as performing their songs somewhat “tongue-in-cheek.” I think he has simply misunderstood their lesser singing talents—which are nonetheless extremely charming—as lacking seriousness; in point of fact, Frank Sinatra complained that Brando took is role far too seriously, demanding retake after retake.
In the men’s room, after, I asked the now 16-year old Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (only 14 at the time of shooting) what his next film might be. “I don’t have one yet,” he replied, as his naturally reddened Irish cheeks turned a bit more crimson, “but I hope to.” “You certainly will,” I smiled back.
Los Angeles, April 20, 2016