Written by: Hannah Tran | November 10th, 2020
Le choc du futur (Marc Collin, 2019) 3 out of 4 stars.
While so many stories of music set to screen are about the “firsts” of a movement or genre, it’s not often that the genre in question is electronic music, despite its mass popularity and importance in the music industry. Marc Collin’s Le choc du futur (or “The Shock of the Future” in English) is an aptly titled depiction of just one of these tales. Focusing on a young musician named Ana (Alma Jodorowsky), Le choc du futur takes the grand narrative of the beginning of electronic music and some of the women behind it and condenses it into a day-in-the-life portrait of a woman who is supposed to be composing some music for a commercial but instead is on the precipice of developing the sound that would, in some ways, define the following 50 years.
Le choc du futur dives directly into Ana’s world of 1970s Paris. The textures, costumes and overall look is immersive, and it is able to make itself feel memorably unique despite being mostly confined to a single room. What’s even more impressive is the clear love the filmmakers have for the specific period, the vast amount of vintage electronic equipment being shot with so much fascination and curiosity that it would likely convince even the most unfamiliar of viewers to take interest. The sounds that those machines create, moreover, completely round out the film’s tone and nearly justify the film’s existence on their own.
The story, itself, is pleasant and simple enough for casual viewing in spite of being symbolic of a much larger story. While not every part is as effective as others, some particular sequences stand out, especially one between Ana and a friend as they create a song together. But through all of these sequences, it is clear that the film is attempting to encapsulate a broad range of important topics regarding both the struggles of artists trying to pave a new direction in their medium and of women in the music industry, and it does so rather neatly.
While the story could have been more specific in its premise and could have plunged deeper into these topics beyond the fairly surface treatment they receive here, it still works well as a mere introduction to these issues. The film’s larger problem, however, lies in its need to state its own thesis about these topics in such a forward and transparent way. The somewhat overly direct performances and forced dialogue often makes it feel as if there’s a lack of trust between the story and the viewer in deciphering its message. Although the specific narrative of Le choc du futur may feel slightly fleeting, the importance of the narrative it’s based on is communicated well within it. While you may forget Ana and the specific grievances of her day, it is unlikely that you’ll forget the feeling of her struggle and the message of resilience conjured within it.