Snaps of fingers, whistles… Let the battle begin again. Only the immense Steven Spielberg could take on such a cinematographic challenge: re-adapt “West Side Story”, the legendary Broadway musical, first performed in 1957.
And he picked it up with flying colors. Here are 4 good reasons to go see this film, which hits theaters on December 8th.
Because it’s a cult story
Based on the screenplay by Tony Kushner – Pulitzer Prize winner – Steven Spielberg offers a new version while remaining faithful to the time, characters, and story of the original work, based on a Shakespearean plot.
That of an impossible romance in the New York of 1957, between the Puerto Rican Maria, and Tony, Polish by origin. From the first glance, they fall head over heels in love but their romance is battered by racism, intolerance, and clashes between two rival gangs.
The Jets, Irish from the white working class, all out of school and unemployed, and the Sharks, young people from the Puerto Rican community, who try to get by by accumulating odd jobs, compete for control of the Upper West Side .
“The wonderful thing about this story is that although the world is changing around us, its insight and the lessons to be learned don’t change,” said the “Indiana Jones” and “ET” filmmaker. .
If for decades this story has captivated the public, “it is because it is not only a love story, but also a culturally significant work whose central argument – love transcends. prejudice and intolerance – has never lost its relevance, ”he continued.
Because we take full view …
60 years after Robert Wise’s first adaptation, which won ten statuettes at the Oscars, the 74-year-old director, who signs his very first musical film, offers a bright and dynamic version, carried by a sublime photography and spectacular scenes.
In the real streets of the Big Apple, the premises of a police station, or the gymnasium, during the famous neighborhood ball, we witness millimeter and twirling choreographies, led by a troupe of talented dancers (most of them they have Broadway and ballet experience).
The outfits in blue and green of the Jets, and those of the Sharks, in shades of red and orange, blend together to form a sort of rainbow. The film, which opens on a vacant lot strewn with rubble, also reveals several scenes of realistic fights between the gangs until the fatal confrontation, organized between shadow and light, in a salt warehouse.
… AND THE EARS
“West Side Story” is also an opportunity to catch your ears, the dance scenes being punctuated by the iconic score by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, arranged by the American composer David Newman.
The mambo “The Dance At The Gym”, the happy song “Gee Officer Krupke”, “Maria”, “Somewhere”, the exhilarating “America” … Thanks to these songs, said Steven Spielberg, “we have the feeling that in spite of all the sadness and all the ugliness, love will always triumph ”.
“So never give up. This is why I wanted to tell this story today. Because she speaks even louder about our present than she did at the time, ”he added.
Spectators who have seen the original film will also discover a completely unexpected scene. Facing the police and the Jets, the Sharks, in a symbolic effort to claim their territory, take up the revolutionary words of the Puerto Rican hymn “La Borinqueña”.
Because there is a great cast
To interpret these title roles, the multi-Oscar winner called on Ansel Elgort (“Baby driver” and “Our opposite stars”), and Rachel Zegler, chosen among more than 30,000 candidates.
From the first notes of “Tonight”, which she sings in a duet with Ansel Elgort on an emergency staircase, or of “I Feel Pretty”, we succumb to the magic of the crystalline and intense voice of the young actress, who takes his first steps in the cinema. From the top of her 20 years, she bursts the screen and manages to bring us to tears.
The role of Bernardo, leader of the Sharks, a high-level boxer in this feature film, is played by David Alvarez, and that of Riff, the leader of the Jets, by Mike Faist. Both deliver a very convincing performance.
On the casting side, we also find Ariana DeBose, who brilliantly plays the famous role of Anita, Bernardo’s companion, as well as Rita Moreno, the unforgettable Anita in the 1961 version, winner of an Oscar. This time, she plays Valentina, a modernized version of the friendly pharmacist Doc.
We want to thank the writer of this article for this incredible content
West Side Story: these 4 good reasons to go see Steven Spielberg’s next film