Professor Chazelle: Traveller, Professor, Linguist, Mother

Celia Chazelle, professor of history at The College of New Jersey, has many things to be proud of. She’s a master of languages; she is proficient in English, French, Latin, German, and Italian. She has a PhD in Historical Studies from Yale University. However, her biggest accomplishment is raising her two kids, Damien and Anna.

Raising two kids is difficult for every parent, but especially when the kids grew up to be very ambitious and have dreams that most would call unreasonable and outlandish. Professor Chazelle’s daughter Anna Chazelle was more typical when it came to career goals, than her son Damien. Anna, like most kids, had dreams that changed over the course of her lifetime. She’s been a member of the circus, a singer, an actor, and more. Damien was exactly the opposite, in that he knew that he wanted to be a filmmaker since he was three years old.

Damien Chazelle was very interested in directing from a young age. He is an accomplished Oscar winning director now. His most recent film, “La La Land” won a best Actress award for Emma Stone, best director, best original musical score, best cinematography, and best production design. Professor Chazelle who attended the Oscars, said that she loved “La La Land”, but she never expected for Damien to be so successful at such a young age. At thirty two years old, he’s the youngest to win an Oscar for best director. The reason has nothing to do with Damien’s credibility as a director and a screenwriter, but due to Hollywood’s acceptance for musicals.

“La La Land” was undoubtedly a successful film, and like any success, there will be critics, and the most popular seems to be about the casting. One of the most popular criticisms is that the movie should’ve had singers and dancers at the forefront, since it is a musical. Some people had complaints about their singing and dancing, while others could care less. Professor Chazelle says, that the decision to hire non-professionals adds to the film, and it is inspiring because it proves that you don’t have to have the best voice or dancing skills to still sing and dance. The next criticism is that since the film is centered around jazz, black actors and actresses should have been the main characters. This is guided by the fact that jazz was invented by black musicians who were not admitted into classical musical groups that were predominately white. Professor Chazelle thinks the belief that jazz is a race thing, and that white people can’t be interested in jazz is segregationist. Music is diverse, and I’m inclined to agree. Black people may have invented jazz, and while it’s important to acknowledge the historical events that caused jazz music to be created, in 2017 jazz is something that should be encouraged for people of all races to partake in.

While Professor Chazelle had an instrumental role in raising her kids to become successful, she doesn’t understand why people keep congratulating her. Ever since Chazelle became a household name after “Whiplash” and “La La Land”, Professor Chazelle has received numerous emails from people whom she either hasn’t met personally, or people who she hasn’t spoken to in a while, congratulating her. Other than that, and people asking her for the occasional interview, her life hasn’t changed as much as Damien’s ; even then he’s still the same Damien, fame hasn’t yet gotten to his head. She is proud, and she loves “La La Land”, so she recommends to everyone that they try to see it in theaters while they still can, to get the wide screen experience.

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