|Theatrical Movie Poster (2011)|
The filmmakers clearly did their homework when they made the film. First off, the film is shot like the old silent films: in real black-and-white film in the 1.33 aspect ratio. The set designs in the film were dead on, recapturing the look of Hollywood (filming took place during seven weeks on location in Los Angeles). Director Michel Hazanavicius (OSS 117: Lost in Rio, OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies) had always wanted to make a silent film, and his love for these lost classics can be seen in every single frame of this film. This was a labor of love, and he did extensive research about 1920s Hollywood, and studied silent films to find the right techniques to make the story comprehensible without having to use too many intertitles. There were quite a few German films that used this technique as well, like F.W. Murnau's 1927 classic SUNRISE and Arthur Robinson, whose 1923 silent film WARNING SHADOWS didn't have any intertitles at all.
Hazanavicius played various music from classic Hollywood films while the actors performed, much like they did back in the silent film days. Dujardin channels Douglas Fairbanks: suave, arrogant, athletic, with a pinch of humor for good measure. At one point in the film, George is watching one of his silent films (Zorro to be exact) and what I loved was that it really was the Douglas Fairbanks film that we were seeing. Very clever of Hazanavicius to sneak that in. Also one cannot forget Bejo, whose Peppy radiates life, youth, and becomes the face of change as she becomes the darling of the new talking Hollywood. Bejo give Peppy that innocence, the wholesome image that catapults her to becoming "America's sweetheart," a title that once belonged to Mary Pickford, who was also married to Fairbanks. Is it me or do I see a similarity here?
Now, as we say over at the museum, silent films were never silent, for they had the best musicians bringing these images to life. Composer Ludovic Bource’s continuous score is just absolutely amazing; it compliments the film perfectly, without going too overboard. It really is one of the best scores I have ever heard.
THE ARTIST is superb film; a crowning achievement in cinema as it beautifully recaptures the silent film era while simultaneously bringing it for 21st Century audiences to experience. As I said earlier, silent films are making a comeback, so next time you go tot the movies, instead of seeing the same 'ol blockbuster, go see this film, and be prepared to see how fantastic silent films are. Five out of five stars!! Highly recommended!!
THE ARTIST is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the South Bay. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cameracinemas.com
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!