The Artist – A Preview

1927 was a monumental year in the history of cinema as one film changed the shape of movies for years to come. That movie was Alan Crosland’s The Jazz Singer. You see up until this point, feature films were silent with dialogue transmitted through title cards and overdramatized actions. The soundtrack came from musicians in the theater with pianists or full blown orchestras. But when people saw Al Jolson performing in the Jazz Singer, they were blown away. This was followed by the mass production of other “talkies,” which meant that the decline of the silent film era had set in and the genre was banished to film history text books. So it comes as a huge surprise that in the midst of the IMAX and 3D revolution, one of the most talked about films in recent times is Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist.

You see, the film is set in Hollywood during the 1920s and is the story of a silent film artist coping with the invention of the talkie. Yet the film itself is also silent and shot in black and white. That’s right, a silent film about a silent film artist. French leading man Jean Dujardin plays George, a famous silent movie actor whose career is on the downturn, and Bérénice Bejo is his love interest, Peppy, a performer whose own career is flourishing.

Having been nominated for Best Film at most major film festivals around the world, including Cannes and the London Film Festival, and had praise lavished upon it for the amazing ensemble performance from the cast, which includes John Goodman, Malcolm McDowell and in particular Uggie the dog, The Artist has been described as a “funny, clever, sweet-natured romance.” And in much the same way as Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, it was an homage to the birth of cinema. The Artist is clearly a postmodern tribute to Hollywood’s silent era and is the Motion Picture Academy’s dream. A film romanticizing Hollywood and the love people have for the movies surely has Oscar gold written all over it.

The Artist is also out on  Feb. 16, and while I can’t wait to catch the film to see if I can indeed get to grips with the concept of watching a contemporary silent movie, every corner of the Internet is claiming that The Artist is a modern classic; it’s funny, charming and beautifully shot. What at first might sound like a post-modern experiment is simply a feel good film about one man’s journey that can speak to us all. Silently of course.

The Artist will hit Korean screens on Feb. 16.

Categories: Film, Previews


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