The Eddy - Netflix plays jazz

Who I am
Catherine Le Nevez
Author and references

The Eddy is a unique product, probably unrepeatable. The new Netflix mini series, written by Jack Thorne (National Treasure, Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams), in fact has the flavor of the great European auteur cinema (primarily French) and clearly differs from any style and register typical of modern seriality. The Eddy is Jazz, in content as well as in form. It is chorality and individuality, preparation and improvisation, abstraction and reality.

The excellences behind the production of The Eddy are innumerable. First of all, the award Damien Chazelle, who appears here in the dual role of producer and director (of the first two episodes). The director's ability to tell the world of music La La Land e Whiplash it is certainly not new, but in The Eddy we touch new and, in some cases, even higher emotional strings.

The other big name is that of Glen ballard, historic American music producer, winner of six Grammy Awards and collaborator of the likes of Michael Jackson and Barbara Streisand. Ballard did the writing (along with Randy Kerber) of all the pieces performed by the band protagonist of the series and which constitute, in fact, the entire soundtrack of the show.


Jazz club

In a beautifully photographed modern-day Paris we find ourselves following the story of Elliot Udo, an extraordinary American jazz pianist and composer, who moved to the French capital following a terrible family drama. Together with his historic friend Farid, Elliot tries to launch a small jazz club, "The Eddy", and his band, for which he writes each song and of which he has personally selected the components.

Elliot's situation will become more complicated when Julie, his XNUMX-year-old daughter, moves from New York to Paris permanently and when the relative tranquility of the place is threatened by the Parisian underworld.

The Eddy is an extremely successful combination of drama, thriller and music.

The Eddy is an extremely successful combination of drama, thriller and music. The narration is unanimous, but there is the time and the way to get to know many of the characters in depth. Each of the eight episodes that make up the series, in fact, focuses on a specific character, outlining his motivations and psychology with an extraordinary and delicate realism.

Characters whose depth is also and above all thanks to the cast, which alternates more or less known faces with surprising emerging actors. Andre Holland (Moonlight) looms large in outlining the thousand conflicts of his Elliot, a character capable of an almost infinite quantity of nuances: irascible, perfectionist, ambitious and at the same time kind, altruistic, sensitive.

Equally admirable are the evidence offered by the French Leila Bekhti in the character of Amira, Farid's wife and the young woman Amandla stenberg, interpreter of Julie. In the role of Maja, voice of the band and Elliot's pseudo partner, we find an equally excellent Joanna kulig, interpreter of many films by the Polish filmmaker Paweł Pawlikowski (such as the lucky Cold War).

However, the performers of the musicians who make up the band of "The Eddy" deserve a special mention. They are in fact real musicians before actors, personally selected by Glen Ballard and called to a difficult and intense acting test. It is about Randy Kerber, Ludovic LouisJowee Omicil, Lada Obradović Damian New Cortes. Obradovic and Cortes even have an entire episode dedicated to each other.


Truth cinema

The Eddy chooses to tell his story with an extremely personal language, first of all turning the spotlight on the psychological introspection of the characters and on their relationship with music. The numerous close-ups are the spectator's inquiring gaze into the thoughts of these musicians as fragile as they are hardened by life. The constant use of the hand-held camera, the long sequence shots alternating with sudden bursts and (deliberately) badly connected cuts in axis are the ideal grammar for what looks like a slice of palpable reality. A cinéma vérité, to quote Morin, which rejects any simplification or "embellishment".

Photography runs in the same direction, always extremely natural, which returns to the viewer a Paris that has never been so dark and degraded. The places represented are far from the iconic ones of the French capital. In the approximately eight hours that make up the series, the Eiffel Tower appears only once, in the background. On the other hand, the Parisian suburbs dominate the scene, a hard training ground for life between drug dealing areas and barracks. The same faces, on which makeup is almost absent, are photographed without hiding any wrinkles or imperfections.

The directions that follow one another during the episodes (Houda Benyamina, Laïla Marrakchi, Alan Poul) maintain the language traced by Chazelle in the first two episodes, with a totally free structure and an absolutely uneven rhythm between long contemplative moments and sudden accelerations.

In The Eddy there is no music that is not diegetic.

Even the use of music pursues an idea of ​​realism. In The Eddy, in fact, there is no music that is not diegetic. The music is always that played on stage by musicians and instruments and is always live, performed live during filming (hence the need for actors, musicians and singers). Last but not least, the series has the merit of representing realistically and without mannerisms a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, with its strengths and contradictions.



Think Different

Allow me here to praise Netflix's undisputed courage in producing and bringing such an openly niche serial product to its catalog. After the excellent Hollywood mini series, which landed on the platform just a week ago (here you can read our review), betting on a series like The Eddy is a really strong and convincing answer to those who accuse the streaming giant of wink. increasingly to an audience of adolescents, polarizing the offer towards a specific target.

The hope is that a product like The Eddy will be able to collect the public success it deserves

If you are an audience of cinephiles and jazz fans you will find in The Eddy a sort of Holy Grail, capable of transporting you in an instant in its magnificent atmosphere and in the problematic lives of its protagonists. If you weren't, however, try to indulge the sometimes slow rhythms of the show and continue in the vision. With the right attention and sensitivity, in fact, you will give yourself moments of pure emotion.

The hope is therefore that a product like The Eddy manages to collect the public success it deserves, so that it does not remain unique and lead the way to greater experimentation of contents and languages ​​in the increasingly homologated world of seriality.

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