(Release Info London schedule:
Saturday 27 April 11.00 am - Canterbury | Knutsford | Richmond | Ripon | Soho
Sunday 28 April 11.00 am - Colchester | Mayfair | Oxford | Sheffield | Victoria | Wimbledon)
"Vox Lux" follows the rise of Celeste (Natalie Portman) from the ashes of a major national tragedy to pop superstardom. The film spans 18 years and traces important cultural moments through her eyes, starting in 1999 and concluding in 2017.
Beginning in 1999 with a violent mass tragedy, a teenaged Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) is rushed to the hospital, barely surviving a harrowing encounter. With her loyal sister Eleanor (Stacy Martin) by her side, she recovers. After singing at a memorial service, Celeste transforms into a burgeoning pop star with the help of her songwriter sister. The duo puts their grief to song, composing a memorable ballad sung by Celeste that becomes an anthem to an ailing nation. Her parents hire a scrupulous manager (Jude Law) to take her under his wing. Under his tutelage, her career skyrockets to superstardom, with all the vice that comes along. Celeste's meteoric rise to fame and concurrent loss of innocence dovetails with a shattering terrorist attack on the nation, elevating the young powerhouse to a new kind of celebrity; American icon, secular deity, global superstar. As the film enters it's second phase set in 2017, Celeste has grown into her early 30s. She's mounting a comeback after a scandalous incident that derailed her career. Though praised by legions of fans, her private life has been plagued by scandals and addiction, a strained relationship with her sister, and a teenage daughter of her own that she neglected to raise. As the launch of her grand opus looms, she must confront another act of violence. Touring in support of her sixth album, a compendium of sci-fi anthems entitled 'Vox Lux', the indomitable, foul-mouthed pop savior must overcome her personal and familial struggles to navigate motherhood, madness and monolithic fame in 'The Age Of Terror'.
The film incisives a character study with a mature sense of style all his own. It's protagonist is a pop star called Celeste and it chronicles key events and cultural patterns that have so far defined the early '21st century' via her gaze. Celeste becomes a symbol of 'The Cult Of Celebrity' and 'The Media Machine' in all it's guts, grit and glory. Her music is a great luxury. But there's a difference in the sort of eco-system that comes, that grows around a pop star. Or if they had been present, in the case of a memoir, has her memory of past experiences not betrayed her? The character feels attacked. So, she lashes out at absolutely everybody. In the scene with her and 'The Journalist' (Christopher Abbott) both have extremely valid perspectives and points of view and she’s mostly in the wrong, in fact. In that moment, the most important thing is not when she says to the journalist, 'You’ve got nothing to be proud of. I don’t share that sentiment remotely'. The most important thing is when she goes, 'You’re right, you’re right', and that’s the reason that moment appears in the film, because she’s consoling herself by basking in a lie, to try to comfort herself. The character of course has a few of those moments where she’s a bit 'Trumpy’ and that’s one of them.
And also, this character is suffering with 'PDST'. She’s not really designed to be a monster at all. She’s as much a victim of the era as she's a leader of the era. The film is very much about the fact that 'The 20th Century' was marked by the turn of the banality of people and 'The 21st century' will be defined by the pageantry of people. The film’s themes and the character are intrinsically linked, and so, she’s not a monster. It's about the questions around the psychology of what violence does to individuals and to mass psychology, to group psychology; certainly because of being from a place where people have encountered it for so long. But, unfortunately, it’s been a phenomenon now that, in 'The United States', we experience regularly with the school shootings, which are a type of civil war that we've in 'The US', and of terror in 'The US'. And the psychological impact of what that means for every kid going to school every day, of every parent dropping their kid off every day, and how small acts of violence can create wide-spread psychological torment. There’s a great moment in the film where she says, 'Let’s make it we'. So, her trauma becomes a collective trauma.
"Vox Lux" is based on Robert Musil’s book 'The Man Without Qualities', which is about a character whose sort of on the periphery of major events, during the fall of 'The Astro-Hungarian Empire'. There’s an omniscient narrator (William Dafoe) that’s sort of sardonic and the film applies this Robert Musil-style and tone to something contemporary. The film is the continuation of "The Childhood Af A Leader", but on the other side of the century; an historical melodrama set in America between 1999 and 2017. The film connects the life of the protagonist to some major historic events. 1999 was 'Columbine', then we see 'The Twin Towers' in 2001. But this film definitely represents a more corporate brand of fascism. But yeah, we've to see them as being linked in a way for structural reasons and the fact that they're both fables that are sort of defining moments of an era. One in the early part of 'The 20th Century' and this one in the early part of 'The 21st century'. "Vox Lux" demonstrates a more transparent contract with the reader than the traditional historical biography because one is able to access the past without questioning the author about how they could provide such a detailed account of an event without having been present for the event themselves.
Featuring original songs by Sia, "Vox Lux" is an origin story about the forces that shape us, as individuals, nations, and gods. The film guides into fearless places in the name of art, finding beauty in the ugliness of the world and daring us to pay attention. It’s a piece of art that's really more of a portrait, and more of a reflection of our society; the intersection of pop culture and violence, and the spectacle that we equate between the two. It's a statement or send an important message to 'The US' about their gun control policies. It makes people feel things that they recognise and that they can see some of things that we’re facing in our society right now. "Vox Lux" chronicles moments that defined 'The 20th century', the last twenty years. We’re all been through a lot. But the truth is, it’s quite a difficult film to speak about because it isn't an attempt to create.anything which is too didactic. It's something that's supposed to be a sort of fable or a poetic rumination of what we’ve all been through for the last twenty years. We live in an age of anxiety. We feel like we’re having more sleepless nights than ever. The film is sort of born of that. It's designed to be where we could all come together and think about it together collectively.