Thursday, December 29, 2011

8. The Artist

I was a bit apprehensive before I saw the film. I was questioning the idea of the remake of a silent film. I quickly changed my mind. This is a French, silent movie in black and white, however “The Artist” will make you feel the love for cinema. 

Set in 1927, Jean Dujardin stars as George Valentin, the biggest movie star in the whole world.  He's riding high in the time of the silent pictures, but those times are coming to an end.  The head of the studio, Al Zimmer (John Goodman), is ready to embrace the talkies, and he wants to bring in a new stable of stars. 

Of course, George is too proud and stubborn to embrace the future, so he leaves the studio determined to continue his silent stardom.  Along the way, he meets Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) an Argentinian born actress, she plays a young lady looking to become a Hollywood star.  As her fortunes rise and she becomes the biggest star of the talkies, George's fall, but the attraction between them only seems to grow, especially as Peppy tries to help. The question emerge whether he will have a comeback, will they fall in love, will he be in a talkie film? 

The Artist is in the list this year because of the great job they did, great artistry and skill needed to recreate a silent movie, but, also, because it has a story and acting that excites your emotions.  Director Michel Hazanavicius and his team relentlessly adhered to the silent movie formulas and characteristics in ways that cinema experts will be raging, and the less experienced movie fans will find entertaining. 

The Artist is a great movie, whether it is silent or not.  Bejo is the girl all guys hope to fall in love with as she bats her eyelashes, sings, dances and performs one of the most brilliant pantomime scenes since the golden days silent film when she is in George's dressing room, Peppy plays around, pretending to have a romantic, flirty encounter with the man of her dreams.

A silent movie needs to be broad to express the story to the audience, but George (Dujardin) also brings in some more subtle moments and steadily shows the dissatisfaction, disappointment and growing depression in George to make the fall of the movie idol so poignant.   

Dog lovers will love this film after the great dog’s performance, Uggie charms his way, for sure. It is a great cinema lesson. Go check it out. You might like it. 

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