Marc Collin has been a musician for 30 years but has always had a passion for filmmaking. He finally took the plunge with his first film, Le Choc du Futur (The Shock of the Future), a love letter to women in the electronic music world.
Ana (Alma Jodorowsky) is a musician living in Paris in the 70s. She writes jingle for commercials, but her passion lies in creating electronic music that transcends the world of rock and roll so prevalent at the time. Staying at a colleague’s apartment equipped with a wall of mixers, soundboards, and technical apparatus, Ana flips switches and tunes in to the music in her head, trying to replicate the sounds she hears.
When she forgets to cancel a session with a singer (Clara Luciani) hired for the commercial Ana was supposed to compose, they end up having coffee and creating a song within minutes. Ana debuts it at a party she throws to impress a music executive. The anticipation for approval and to launch her career rides on this party, but will she be ready for the road ahead?
Le Choc du Futur is the day in the life of a creative who deals with sexism and being ahead of her time. Collin emphasizes the amount of confidence needed to plow through the walls of naysayers, and those who think a pretty face should profit from their looks instead of focusing on what a woman can create. There are some fantastic scenes with Ana discovering music with her friend Geoffrey (Geoffrey Carey) like The Human League and Throbbing Gristle, two pioneering bands from the U.K. that were changing electronic music at that time. Luciani gives an outstanding performance as she brainstorms a song with Ana. There’s a real sense of discovery as the characters experience a shift in how music is made and sounds. Ana is full of big ideas in a small pond, restricted by narrowminded “professionals'” who can’t see change. This film is a wonderful companion to the recent documentary Underplayed directed by Stacey Lee, where female d.j.s and electronic musicians talk about the struggles in a male-dominated industry. What’s even better is that Le Choc du Futur is dedicated to these very women highlighted in Underplayed like Suzanne Ciani, Wendy Carlos, and a slew of other electronic pioneers who stuck to their guns and created the music they wanted to make.
I love electronic music, from Orbital to Yaz to drum and bass. I’m hardwired for it, so this film was a real treat as a fan of the music and as a critic. I almost felt like we were watching a documentary as Ana creates music with her giant machine. In an SXSW interview, Collin said he was inspired by Laurie Speigel, an American composer and electronic artist for Ana’s character. He composed all the music for the film, and Alma, the granddaughter of famed director Alejandro Jodorowsky, learned some of it for her role. He also had Luciani, a popular French singer, in mind for Ana’s collaborator. The scene where they come up with a song is touching and watching two women create and collaborate instead of competing.
I also love Paris. I was there for my 21st birthday, working as an au pair. I went with very little money or common sense and still fell in love with the city. The sets for this film made me weep with envy. If I could time travel, Paris in the 70s would have topped my experience in 1991.
Le Choc du Futur is a real treat for electronic music fans and an education for those new to it. It’s a slice of life film that shows the tenacity, the highs, and the lows of being a woman in the industry. See it on VOD now.