Sunday, November 27, 2011
The Artist's Masterpiece
If there's a movie that is deserving of an Oscar in every category (from Best Picture to Costume Design) come 2012, it is Michel Hazanavicius' silent masterpiece The Artist.
The Artist is beautifully rare- not only because it's a silent, intertitle filled black and white film amidst the film age of sound, color and special effects- but because of the innocence of the romance within- which I haven't seen in a movie since 1997's Titanic- and because of the magnificent acting of French stars the equally excellent Jean Dujardin (as Geroge Valentin) and lovable Berenice Bejo (as Peppy Miller)- that puts most acclaimed actors and actresses to shame.
To watch The Artist is like taking an amazing journey back into the glamour of old Hollywood and actually being there. The Artist is simply delightful from start to end guaranteed to keep a silly smile on your face after the movie is over. It has love, heartbreak, comedy, action and even dance (a la Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers).
Durjardin (who looks very Clark Gable-ish) stars as a 1920's self-absorbed, charming Charlie Chaplin-esque silent movie star George Valentin whose fame number is up when talkies (movies with spoken dialogue) start making a splash. He meets by a happy accident at an autograph signing, Bejo's Peppy Miller, an adorable charismatic Betty Boop-ish extra who rises quickly to become a sought after lovable star and eventually becomes a bigger star than him. The two have such a wonderful, natural chemistry together. To watch them fall in love with each other without any words is so lovely. Penelope Ann Miller (Carlito's Way) is great as his wife turned ex-wife, who constantly glares at him and doodles mustaches and black eyes all over George's pictures in their home. Surprisingly cast John Goodman (t.v. show Roseanne) is good as a cutthroat big movie head.
It is a treat just seeing all the actors and actresses act with just facial expressions and body language and because they all are so great at it- knowing exactly what they are trying to convey.
The wonderful, sweeping score (composed by Ludovic Bource) is another treat, setting the tone of scenes and often "speaking" for a character.
The ending may just be the most delightful part of the entire film- *SPOILER* when it turns wonderfully into a talkie.*
It truly is fitting that a French director had the guts to make a silent film today, after all- the founding fathers of film are the French Lumiere Brothers.
I don't foresee a reemergence of silent films (although how cool and wonderful would that be?) but I do expect The Artist to become a film classic.
Every film lover needs to see this masterpiece of an ode to past cinema.
Let The Artist's George and Peppy, the silence, the music, the black and white- amaze, charm and delight you!
*Fun Film Facts*
~The original title of the film was, Beauty Spot (in reference to the beauty spot George draws on Peppy to make her stand out from the other actresses).
~Recreations of 1920's film cameras were made and used in certain of the film's frames.