Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius
Written by: Michel Hazanavicius
Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break.
I took a a silent film class this past semester and after a semesters worth of silent films none of them can compare to Michel Hazanavicius’s film The Artist. To be honest I really thought I was going to dislike The Artist since I was not a fan of the silent films of the 1920s. But this film that took place in the 1920’s had something that those films did not have. Production value. Wow, what a difference it makes when there are good special effects or something as simple as camera movement. I came out of the theater enjoying the film very much.
The Artist is about George Valentine (Jean Dujardin), a silent actor, who does not adjust well to the talkies and Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), an upcoming dancer/actress, who fall for one another. Besides the film being a classic love story, it is also about the love of cinema. It was a homage to silent film, giving you trademark lightening sequences and classic silent comedy, but with a twist of modern production. I also thought there were small undertones that talking cinema is better than silent cinema, even though The Artist is a silent film in itself.
Michel Hazanavicius should now be at the top of the international filmmakers list. He made a bold move making a silent film during an era were CGI reigns supreme. He made a relatively boring medium, very exciting. The shots he created were beautiful and the camera movements were well executed. He pulled off what seemed to be the impossible.
Jean Durjardin is another international star that may become a big hit in the states. He is typically a comic actor in France but gave a great middle ground between humor and drama in The Artist. He gave a extremely strong performance and is surely going to get a Oscar nomination. His co-star Berenice Bejo was also a wonder to watch as well. You were able to tell she had a fun time making the film and wasn’t too hard on the eyes either.
The Artist was really something special. I would have never thought a silent film would command my attention like The Artist did. If you are lucky enough to have it come to a theater near you, take advantage and give it a viewing.