Directed by Michel Hazanavicius
There are two movies of 2011 that celebrated the cinema’s history: Hugo and The Artist. Michel Hazanavicius take on old Hollywood silent era during its traverse at the arrival of sound is now an award-winning masterpiece. Thanks to its infectious performances and charming storyline that highlights on the highs and lows of a fictitious film star named George Valentin. A reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin and Gene Kelly from Singin’ in the Rain, Valentin (Dujardin) might be invented by the creative mind of Hazanavicius, but nevertheless, his plight is real and has occurred to several stars of that particular era. In fact, the imminent emergence of sound to the movie industry gave a shock to its actors. Some of them refused to embrace this looming technology and some had failed to successfully shift to the new era of sound films with their horrible voices and thick accents. I could name a few of them, but that wouldn’t be necessary. Like most celebrated silent stars Valentin’s career collapsed and leaved him disillusioned, while a young ingénue named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) rises and breathes new life in cinema. But as much as pitiful woes turn up in every corners of the story there is a delightful truth in a true Hollywood fashion that Tinseltown is the place where all dreams are made of. And if there is a living testament that “dreams do come true” it would be the cast and the people behind The Artist. Hazanavicius, who is virtually famous for his detective movies, is now a visionary director for creating a totally out of the box feature. At a time where every motion picture is being made into 3D (or at least, converted) who would have thought of a black & white silent cinema. Some people I know just shun away or snooze by the sight of a grainy B&W or worse, cringe to a deafening silence of a non-talkie picture. So thanks Michel for bringing it back. I just hope it won’t turn everyone into a copycat just because everyone is crazy about The Artist.