Already starting to pick up awards nods around the place (six
Golden Globe nominations, for example), director Michel
Hazanavicius' The Artist, a silent, black-and-white feature about
the rise of the "talkies", is a genuinely remarkable film.
Opening in Hollywood in 1927, the film depicts the fortunes of
handsome actor George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), a silent movie
superstar with a super cute - and very clever - Jack Russell
sidekick. Unable to adapt to changes in the industry, George
refuses to make the switch to talking pictures and decides to
finance and star in his own silent film. At the same time, lovely
young extra Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) is being discovered and is
flourishing in the new, chatty medium. The Artist follows the
fortunes of both, which are, as you might expect, somewhat
Key to the film's success is the fantastic score. The lack of
spoken dialogue naturally draws attention to the music, and to the
artfulness of the film itself. It's a different way of being told a
story, and that difference is refreshing and welcome.
The Artist is a rich, beautiful movie, an homage to silent film.
For fans of silent films this is an absolute treat; for those new
to them, it could well serve as a great introduction. Here's hoping
it wins an Oscar nomination (or several) and with it a few new fans
for silent film who may be inspired to go back and discover some