Silence is Golden in Black and White Movie ‘The Artist’

Cet article a été publié dans FR2DAY en 2011 (Cet article was published in FR2DAY in 2011)

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It is not often that a French movie creates a buzz in Oscar circles in Hollywood, but you can trust film producer Harvey Weinstein to recognize a worthy contender when he sees it and to turn it into a multiple nominee. His company bought the rights to ‘The Artist’ for the American market before it even premiered in Cannes this year to critical acclaim, and will release it in November right on time for the Oscar race. It probably helps that ‘The Artist’, which pays tribute to the Hollywood movies from the late 1920s, has been filmed as a silent movie! Liberated from the language barrier, the film has already proven to be a crowd pleaser in Toronto and San Sebastian, and one has to recognize that indeed it is a wonderful piece of work on every level.

Directed by Michel Hazanavicius and staring Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, the film follows the downfall of a Douglas Fairbanks’ look-alike George Valentin, a Hollywood superstarwhose popularity begins to wane with the arrival of talking cinema in the late 1920s, just as that of young ingenue, Peppy Miller rises.

Audacious, touching, witty, visually stunning and beautiful crafted, ‘The Artist‘ is also wonderfully acted. Dujardin, who took this year’s Best Actor honours at Cannes, may still be unknown in the US but he is already a huge star in Francewhere he is famous, notably for his part over many years in a daily TV sketch comedy show as well as in Hazanavicius’ series of spy spoofs OSS 117.

The supporting cast includes several English-speaking actors such as John GoodmanJames CromwellPenelope Ann Miller and Malcolm McDowell, as well as an amazing canine performer named Uggy.

Modern day audiences are somehow reluctant to watch black-and-white silent movies but with this love letter to a forgotten art, Hazanavicius is showing the world that you sometimes do not need spoken dialogues to carry emotions or visual effects to entertain moviegoers. It is still too early to know what chance ‘The Artist’ has of winning an Academy Award, but there is little doubt in my mind that it will capture the heart of people all around the globe.

 

 

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