So what did RAMA think of this Black and White film? Please make sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
THE ARTIST is beautiful, definitely one of my favorite films this year. I can watch it again and again. Writer/director Michel Hazanavicius has crafted a timeless masterpiece, a film that deserves best picture nomination along with acting nods for Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo.
It’s a silent black-and-white film with masterful music accompaniment, a charming, irresistible story and an excellent production that gives you the feel of elegance and authenticity..
Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break.
In the midst of remakes and sequels out there, THE ARTIST stands out as something unique, original and well-made. Not only is the film silent black and white but it’s also presented in 1.33:1 aspect ratio, so it immediately takes you to Hollywoodland era right from the start.
Hazanavicius must’ve seen hundreds of silent films to get this thing right because that’s what I would do. I haven’t watched many in my lifetime but what always amuses me about silent films is that you’d see the characters engage in a fairly long dialogue but then the caption shows up and it only consists of a few words. THE ARTIST goes above and beyond to stay true to how silent films were done in the early years of cinema.
The story essentially is about a silent film star named George Valentin, played by Jean Dujardin, who’s rich and famous and is proud of his accomplishments, he has a big house and a wife he no longer finds happiness with. He loves the attention, he loves fame, and he’s a natural born charmer.
Actor Jean Dujardin as Valentin looks like a cross between Gene Kelly, Clark Gable, and Douglas Fairbanks.
Valentin meets a girl named Peppy Miller, played by Bérénice Bejo. He helps her enter the business and she eventually rises her way to stardom.
And then something radical happens, the talkies, films suddenly aren’t silent anymore and audience want to hear their stars talk and Valentine becomes obsolete.
The great depression only worsens the situation, Valentin loses his fame and fortune, the only thing he still carries are his four-legged friend and his pride. Peppy closely observes from a distance, still admires the man who helped her be part of this showbiz.
Jean Dujardin gives a towering performance, it’s acting at its purest form. Even when Valentin is sad, he could always show a bit of smile here and there. Because it’s a silent film, the body language speaks more volume and Dujardin’s physical and facial expressions speak a thousand words.
When he’s jolly and comical, he channels a Chaplin-like personality and when he’s sad and frustrated, his Oscar worthy dramatic side breaks through, what a magnificent performance!
Bérénice Bejo is vibrant, glamorous and a perfect walking replica of 1920s-1930s starlets
Every actor, including John Goodman, involved in this film is fantastic. Even the dog deserves an applause.
There’s a couple of scenes in the film when you’re allowed to hear sounds and people talking, the first scene introduces them as nightmare, the second scene happens when Valentin fully embraces them.
Because you can’t hear dialogue, composer Ludovic Bource’s consistent music plays an even bigger, more imperative and more integral role in the storytelling, the music is one of the many things that make THE ARTIST a film for the ages.
GRADE: 5 out of 5
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