A love letter to 1920s Hollywood, Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist resurrects silent cinema as a powerful and complex storytelling medium. Shot entirely in black and white, without dialogue and in a traditional 1.33 aspect ratio, the film remains faithful to the period it represents, avoiding the trap of pastiche through a sincere appreciation of the cinematic possibilities offered by classic silent film.
Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, whose matinee-idol good looks and arrogant but good-natured charm evoke Douglas Fairbanks at his best. George is at the height of his career in 1927 when The Artist begins. While working the premiere of his new film, he accidentally bumps into a beautiful unknown, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), and the ensuing photo op sets her on the path to unexpected fame.
George, however, quickly finds himself on the opposite track, as sound begins to dominate the screens. Refusing to accept this modern innovation, he finances his own silent feature in 1929 and loses it all. His wife leaves him and his fans forget him. Broken and alone, George fades into the shadows of old Hollywood.
At the same time, new It-girl Peppy finds herself at the forefront of the sound phenomenon. As her star status rises, she never forgets the man who gave her the start she needed; she resolves to help George in any way she can.
The Artist tells a familiar story, reminiscent of classics like Sunset Boulevard and A Star is Born, but Hazanavicius and cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman breathe new life into an old tale. Their skillful handling of a style that could easily have turned into camp enables for a newfound appreciation not only for silent cinema, but also for melodrama and the intense emotional effects the genre can deliver. Above all, The Artist offers a joyous look back to a golden age, and will leave audiences nostalgic for a cinematic form that, as Hazanavicius proves, hasn’t lost its resonance. –TIFF
Michel Haznavicius (born 29 March 1967) is a French film director, producer and screenwriter best known for his spy movie parodies OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies and OSS 117: Lost in Rio, both of which star Jean Dujardin. His upcoming film The Artist is scheduled to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
Before directing films, Haznavicius worked in television, beginning with the Canal+ channel, where he started as a director in 1988. He then moved into directing commercials for such companies as Reebok and Bouygues Telecom and made his first feature-length film, La classe américaine, for television in 1993. The film, co-directed with Dominique Mézerette, consisted entirely of footage taken from various films produced by the Warner Bros. studio, re-edited and dubbed into French. Haznavicius directed his first short film, Echec au capital, in 1997, and followed it up with his first theatrically released feature… read more
Watched this again after checking out Hazanavicius' OSS films. As always, Dujardin injects a great deal of charm into his films, and this is no exception. The Artist is fun if perhaps too reliant on other films about the same transitionary period. Maybe not Best Picture material, but I daresay it makes for more pleasant viewing than many a past winner.
Jean Dujardin is spectacular, and so are truly the rest of the cast, photo and directing. Although The Artist is a great homage, much of it felt so immensely internal for the film-industry that I was often left with this extremely rare feeling of being embarassed as I watched, as if it was truly not made for me.
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A magia do Cinema.
Um melodrama no seu género mais clássico, e, mesmo sem que conseguisse tirar o Sunset Boulevard do Billie Wilder da cabeça, relembrou-me do porquê das audiências… read review
Nouvelle vision du dernier film de Michel Hazanavicius, plébiscité par les critiques, récompensé aux Oscars et à Cannes, et ayant connu un large succès public. S’il est vrai que le battage médiatique… read review
Title: The Artist
Country: France, Belgium
Genre: Romance, Drama, Comedy
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Writer: Michel Hazanavicius
The Artist se veut un bien long pastiche du cinéma muet, mais sans proposer aucun discours sur le fond, aucun discours qu’un pauvre mélo égocentré sans aucun intérêt. L’humour tombe vite à plat et… read review