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“West Side Story”: Steven Spielberg plays the card of realism to better speak about today


Steven Spielberg said for a long time that he wanted to do something around West Side Story, one of the films that marked him the most in his youth. Old project in his boxes, the director released the remake on Wednesday December 8, his first musical. His approach to this film at the ten Oscars in 1962, by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, meets expectations through the topicality of its subject and a new approach to staging.

In 1957, on the Upper West Side of New York undergoing deconstruction, the Jets gang, of Polish, Irish and Italian origin, and the Sharks, of Puerto Rican origin, fought over territory. Tony, from the Jets, comes home from prison and keeps his distance from the usual brawls. During a ball where the two bands cross, Tony falls in love with Maria, the sister of the leader of the Sharks. Their love will exacerbate the gang warfare.

When the original film came out in 1961, West Side Story revolutionizes the musical genre through its subject with strong social resonances, its urban setting, while drawing inspiration from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Leonard Bernstein’s music is a masterpiece and teeming with standards. Steven Spielberg takes hold of an iconic film and manages to do something else with it. Unexpected.

After the first urban choreographies filmed in the street, the 1961 film was transported to the studio, with expressionist lighting that evokes the stage origins of the film. Spielberg distances himself from it by choosing to shoot in the streets of New York. He has the Sharks played by Latino actors, which was not the case in 1961, and all the actors are closer to the age of their roles (they were in their thirties before). Spielberg plays the card of realism to speak better of today.

Rachel Zegler and Ansel Elgort & nbsp; in "West Side Story" by Steven Spielberg (2021).  (TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX)

Wise opened his film on a sublime aerial shot above New York, Spielberg films his first images at tarmac level and opens on the destruction of buildings on the Upper West Side. He will remain faithful to this choice by giving more importance to the turf war than to the love story. The background of immigration and communitarianism of 1961 has not changed after sixty years, just like that of the circulation of arms in the United States, with undoubtedly more acuteness today. Sincere and inventive, Steven Spielberg wins his bet.

Poster of "West Side Story" by Steven Spielberg (2021).  (THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY FRANCE)

Kind : Musical comedy
Director : Steven spielberg
Actors : Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Rita Moreno, Brian d’Arcy James, Corey Stoll
Country : United States
Duration : 2h37
Exit : December 8, 2021
Distributer : The Walt Disney Company France

Synopsis : THElegendary story of a budding love against a backdrop of brawls between rival gangs in 1957 New York.



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