Aznavour by Charles
Charles Aznavour, narrated by Romain Duris
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… the filmmakers capture Aznavour’s insatiable yearning for life [which] speaks volumes to a once-in-a-generation virtuoso who was unable to switch off his keen sense of curiosity.
Unbeknownst to many, Charles Aznavour’s mastery of the soul-stirring ballad – imbuing upon each composition an emphatic quality that has become synonymous with mid-twentieth century French-pop – proves but half of the tools in his storytelling repertoire.
Documenting his worldly travels throughout his illustrious career, the celebrated French-Armenian troubadour hid a wealth of archival footage that when patched together in director Marc di Domenico’s evocative documentary Aznavour by Charles, showcases the crooner’s extraordinary gift of vivid expression.
Depicted in a grainy splendour, the authenticity of which will have sentimentalists lovingly clutch onto their polaroid cameras, di Domenico opens the bonnet on ‘France’s Frank Sinatra’ and details the inner-workings of an artist whose career existed as a triumph against class, loss and racism. di Domenico doesn’t so much as catalogue Aznavour’s impressive career as offer with fine objectivity a glimpse into one of France’s – if not the world’s – most captivating artists.
Aznavour by Charles is not without recognising his tremendous musical ability, with scenes showcasing the ‘She’ singer’s transportive gift. Aznavour’s profound lyricism, bringing with it, melancholic undertones as profound as they are core-shaking, transitions into contemplative narration that ponders the thoughts and motivations behind civilian society. The effect of this adds an extra layer of dimension that recognises Aznavour’s sense of compassion and the thought-out manner where he considered the perspective of others in his work.
Aznavour by Charles measures legacy not just as a by-product of popularity, but as a measure of character and prowess. The admiring manner the filmmakers capture Aznavour’s insatiable yearning for life speaks volumes to a once-in-a-generation virtuoso who was unable to switch off his keen sense of curiosity.