3-D, Imax, Motion-capture , whatever. The modern movie medium always transfers itself to compete with digital effects and 3-D extravaganzas. At this time , "The Artist" gleefully inventive, gloriously entertaining black-and-white silent movie, proves that less is more. Although the technology was simpler, the experience was magical. In the face of the noisy, neurotic things that movies have become in 2011, “The Artist’’ asserts timeless truths: the wit and invention of a cinema that doesn’t need to talk, and the awareness that times and technologies change - and that beautiful things can get left behind in the rush to the future. Many of the technical aspects of the silent period are expertly re-created -- 22 frames per second , 1:33 aspect ratio , with a rich and superior piano music.
PlotThe Artist spans a five year period, beginning in 1927 and concluding in 1932. It is the late 1927. George Valentin (Dujardin) is a silent-movie legend whose stardom rubs off on a budding starlet named Peppy Miller (Bejo) after a chance encounter at a premiere. At first he finds Peppy’s fame-by-association cute, but the arrival of sound makes Valentin's fortunes fall as Peppy's rise. As the Depression and self-financed silent failures deplete his fortunes, George's trajectory takes him from his mansion to pawnshops and gin mills. The rest is predictable, but it is funny, comfortable, and oddly fresh.
AnalysisThe acting is superb in the way it recalls performances of 80 years ago. The magnetic performance of Jean Dujardin as Valentin dominates the film. Time and technology diminish his swagger and self-confidence. Yet, he does not begrudge or blame others for his misfortune. Dujardin makes us care for his role of Valentin. He worked with director Hazanavicius previously in twp spy movie spoofs, OSS 117. Bejo as Peppy is , not just a Valentin’s love interest but acts as his peer. The chemistry is palpable, and Bejo radiates beauty, grace and intelligence. Director Michael Hazanavicius has a control over the medium that is hypnotic. He works every simple, elegant image with dazzling craftsmanship. Even when the visuals are melodramatic or aggressively stylized, they're apt for the storytelling methods of the late silents. Once you step into this time capsule, you're simply swept along.
There is also one cinematic element that makes The Artist work, it's Ludovic Bource's score. In a movie with no dialogue and (almost) no sound effects, the music is asked to carry a much heavier load than in a normal motion picture. Bource's music is excellent, underlining emotions - playful at times and sad at others.
There are those that sneer at The Artist’s simplicities, its unfortunate inability to be a real long-lost classic. That's not the attempt here. The point of The Artist is to reconnect with the human spirit, see what our ancestors saw in a single close-up and find emotions in the human face that no amount of CGI can render. The Artist contains many elements that will keep unadventurous viewers away - demands reading of the dialogue, and is in black-and-white. It may not be for loud entertainment seekers, but it’s not just for movie buffs; it’s for anyone who ever sat with delight in front of a movie screen. And let’s face it, that’s all of us.
The Artist celebrates the history of cinema. There's even the chance you find yourself sick of hearing how good the movie is before seeing it. But really, don't pass up the opportunity to be dazzled and won over.
The Artist have won 3 Golden Globes and nominated for 10 Oscars.
The Artist - Imdb