“The Artist” (2011)
84th Academy Awards, 2012
Nominated for 10 Oscars, Won 5.
Nominated for Supporting Actress (Bérénice Bejo), Cinematography (Guillaume Schiffman), Art Direction (Laurence Bennett and Robert Gould), Film Editing (Anne-Sophie Bion and Michael Hazanavicious), and Writing-Original Screenplay (Michael Hazanavicious).
Won Best Picture (Thomas Longmann), Best Actor (Jean Dujardin), Costume Design (Mark Bridges), Directing (Michael Hazanavicious), and Music-Original Score (Ludovic Bource).
Box office: $44.7 million (Rotten Tomatoes).
Watched: May 2012.
The Artist is a 2011 French film. It follows an actor named George (Jean Dujardin), who is quite famous for his work in silent films, from 1927-1932. However, when the “talkies” come into existence, he is out of the job and sits by in misery as his cinematic journey falls out from under him. The world he once knew is thundering along in the wake of innovation as he drowns in nostalgia and alcohol. To add salt to the wound, his near-prodigy, Peppy (Bérénice Bejo), who he encountered and encouraged as an extra and chorus girl, finds huge success as a heroine in talking movies.
Directed by Michael Hazanavicious, “The Artist” is much more than a French film. It is a parody, a film noir, a genius and complex cinematic nod to all the greats of the past, including Charlie Chaplin and Citizen Kane (Telegraph). It is also, much more simply, a black and white silent film. It is a love story. For anyone who loves when actors act with their eyes more than their mouths, this is a great film to watch.
That being said, I did not care for it as much as I had anticipated. The overall story and theme was very cookie-cutter and predictable, which was very yawn-inducing on my part. For the entire first half hour, I was wishing that it was a short film instead of an impossible 100 minutes long. However, past the first half hour, it gained my interest through cinematography and a genuine interest in the wellbeing of the main character (Darjardin). There is one shot done of a set of stairs that is absolutely breathtaking.
You do not have to be a film buff to enjoy the artistry of this film. However, if your main film interests are 007, I would suggest staying away from “The Artist” unless you are feeling particularly sophisticated and want to impress your friends. At the same time, it is definitely a film to add to your repertoire. If you are a fan of Charlie Chaplin in the slightest, take a couple hours out of your day to dive into the past with this witty French cast. It is probably worth watching the entire film just to see the dance number at the end!
Have you seen “The Artist?” What were your thoughts?
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