The Artist is written and directed by Michael Hazanavicius and stars Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo. The film concentrates on George Valentin (Dujardin) a Hollywood silent film star who struggles with the thought that ‘talkies’ will take over the film business.
In the year 1927, George Valentin was on top of the world. He starred in tons of motion pictures and was the talk of the town in silent films. After one of his film screenings he literally bumps into Peppy Miller, who bravely pulls him in and plants a kiss on his cheek with photographers flashing their cameras about. The next day every paper in town has the people wondering ‘Who’s that girl?’ which leaves Peppy determined and inspired to audition for a film. She lands the part, and becomes the next big thing. Around 1929, the film business attempts to create films with sounds; they were then called ‘talkies.’ Valentin is horrified by this thought. He actually has a nightmare about it, and claims he’s “Not a puppet!” He’s, “An Artist!” Since, he is too proud and too stubborn to conform to the studio’s new way of making film, his career slowly dwindles and Peppy Miller’s begins to flourish.
The Artist was refreshing. The fact that it was not only a black and white film but also a silent one was brilliant and brave on writer/director Hazanavicius’s part. He took a bold chance to create a film such as this and then have audiences everywhere raving about it. The film is completely silent, with beautiful music playing throughout. It gives the audience that old time classic feel with a hint of modern-esque. The setting was perfect, the clothes were great, even the way the actors moved and interacted represented the 1920s beautifully. The only thing I would say that was modern was the dog they had in the film. This dog, was beyond intelligent, this dog had heart, true emotion throughout its performance which, was probably rare for films back then.
The acting was superb. A lot of it was over the top, some what similar to that of watching a play or musical. But, it was comical and enjoyable to observe. Dujardin was great as the washed up actor who strives to keep his art alive and Bejo was beautiful and remarkable as the innocent woman who begins to change everything.
The Artist is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a film with grace, talent, and a different way of viewing movies. Also, recommended for anyone who enjoys black and white silent films that express the love and devotion for the arts.
The Artist just recently took home five Academy Awards, including Best Actor, Best Director and Best Picture. Check it out today.