Who says that a silent film can no longer become as famous as ones with all the jabber? And, who could imagine a black and white film surviving in this multi-colored, 3D-packed movie industry? Well, Michael Hazanavicius is making it happen with his new movie The Artist.
Set in Hollywood between the years of 1927 and 1931, The Artist depicts the life of a once high-flying silent film actor and a novice actress, who soon becomes a well-known persona in the movie industry. The storyline depicts an exchange of roles as it follows the downfall of a formerly renowned actor amidst the blossoming career of a new star.
George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a legendary silent movie actor that, for years, captured the hearts of both men and women in the 1920’s with his charming smile, admirable physique, and the ability to illicit laughter with his silent, yet comical antics. One day, he bumps into a young aspiring actress, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), and an immediate mutual attraction ensues. The head of the studio (John Goodman) soon decides to bring in “talkies” to replace the silent films, which simultaneously results in a sudden fall out for George and a new opportunity for Peppy. Though experience destroys George, especially when he overhears Peppy’s commentary on old films; however, Peppy looks for ways to demonstrate how grateful she is to George for her success.
While most moviegoers could not envision themselves sitting in a movie theater, watching a black and white silent film, The Artist is endearing in its distinction from regular oldies-inspired films. The story pays homage to the black and white, silent films that paved the way for the success of the talkies.
It may be tough for filmmakers these days to refrain from incorporating complex effects into their movies, but the simplicity and lightness of The Artist creates a special tone and is very comical, thanks to the comic genius of its cast. Dujardin was truly ideal for depicting the charm, confidence, and humor of George at the beginning of the movie, but equally well-suited for the drama that ensues as he falls from the limelight.
The Artist stars Jean Dujardin as George Valentin, Berenice Bejo as Peppy Miller, and John Goodman as Al Zimmer, and also includes James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle, Ben Kurland and Bitsie Tulloch. The movie has already won two awards at the Cannes Film Festival (Dujardin for Best Actor and Uggy, the dog, for Best Canine Performace in a Movie).