Posted by: ckckred | January 2, 2012

The Artist: A Brilliant Portrait of Silent Films

The Artist is a silent film, shot in black and white.  The film features many things you’d expect from a silent film: there are title cards and a score of music covering most of the film.  I’ve only seen a few other silent films before, and this feels like it could have come right out of that time.  And that’s what I love about this film.

The Artist is the second film I’ve seen this year that reminds you of the old days at the movie.  Hugo was the first one.  The movie is headed by its two lead actors, Jean Dujardin (best known in France in the OSS 177 movies, where he plays a Gallic secret agent) and Bernice Bejo, and director and writer Michel Hazanavicius.  Because it’s a silent film, the actors successfully use facial expressions and actions to express their emotions.

The story is about George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), a famous silent film actor for Kinograph Studios, who with his dog Uggie make some of the biggest silent film in Hollywood.  After a screening of one of his films, A Russian Affair, he meets Peppy Miller (Bernice Bejo), a dancer who dreams of being a star.  After getting her picture taken with George, Peppy tries to become a big star, and she ends up becoming as big as George.

At the same time, George’s producer (John Goodman) tells George about talkies.  George dismisses them, and believes they won’t be a success.  But eventually, Kinograph Studios shuts down all of its silent productions, and George loses his job.  Peppy, on the other hand, joins the talkie movement, and becomes one of Hollywoods biggest stars.

Soon, George’s wife kicks him out of his home.  He lives in a shabby apartment with only Uggie as company.  He’s forced to sell all of his old possessions, and one day, out of anger, burns all of his old films.

Other films have also discussed about the rise of talkies, including Singin’ in the Rain and Sunset Boulevard.  And The Artist contains all the strong elements that made those movies great.  The film does not only give a detailed picture of the rise of talkies, but also the downfall of silent films.

The black and white cinematography is stunning, and the sets will amaze you.  There may be nothing this year more fascinating than The Artist.

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Responses

  1. I am glad you were finally able to see this! I know you have been wanting to see it very much! I am glad it didn’t dissapoint you!


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