“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” Nietzsche. It wasn’t all nihilism, the death of God, and staring into the abyss; dude also liked dancing. And hey, if it’s good enough for Nietzsche, why’s it not good enough for you?!
Curiously metaphysical introduction over (I knew I’d put that Philosophy A Level to good use some day), I’ve fallen under the spell of the cinematic musical yet again. Those who’ve been following this blog from the start will know that I’m rather fond of a good musical, and with La La Land almost in cinemas, I’ve decided to cosy up to the warm embrace of random singing and dancing for the next month or so. Because it’s cold outside, 2016 sucks, and, well, look. Look at La La Land. LOOK AT IT!
Why are musicals so darn good, I hear you ask? Well, I reply, I love expressionist forms of film-making that bring emotion out into literal truth. It’s why animation means so much to me: it’s all about using its non-real potential to heighten the emotions of the characters and turn them into something big and bold and beautiful. The best superhero films do the same, as do the best sci-fi and fantasy films. Emotions can’t always be captured by literal truth; they need the hyper-realism of film to truly hit home.
Musicals take that rule to the next level: they literally make a song and dance about emotions. If the character is sad, they’ll sing a soppy ballad; if the character is happy, they’ll get up off their feet and perform an incredible dance routine. People scoff at such things (pfft, why can no-one else hear this music? How can everyone suddenly know exactly the same dance routine?), but that’s because they’re soulless husks who’ve been damaged by life and probably spend their lives noting continuity errors on IMDB. People sing and dance in musicals because it’s the purest form of expression, and that’s what musicals are about: the various ways we express ourselves.
They’re also, of course, about love, and as I’ve mentioned before, hopeless romance is one of my favourite things. As pathetic as it is to believe, I truly do reckon that there’s someone out there for everyone, that someday you’ll find that person and – metaphorically rather than literally because, well, you’d probably seem a bit weird if you literally did it – they’ll make you sing and dance and you’ll make them do the same. It’s just one of those things I refuse to buckle on – no matter how difficult it sometimes gets – and musicals are a great way to bolster that faith. They’re so damn sincere. They just believe and they make me believe too.
So I’m going full musical. Across the next few weeks, I’m going to indulge in some of my favourites, and a few I’ve never seen before, and probably write a bit of nonsense about them here. Then I’ll go and see La La Land when it’s released in the UK in January and hopefully fall in love with that. Because, well, look at it. How can you not fall in love with it? LOOK AT IT. JUST… LOOOOOOOOK!