★★★★★… and a few more ★★
Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius
Written by: Michel Hazanavicius
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo and John Goodman
People often turn to Hollywood’s silent films when looking for the visual wit and kinetic energy that made film what it is today. Our archives are usually where we look to when blockbusters flood our cinemas and our eyes get weary from skimming too many fast-moving, clumsy plotlines that unfold with unnecessarily added dimensions. In the future, The Artist will stand as something to be studied and returned to when movies at the cinema have gone to shit.
George Valentin (Dujardin) is a silent movie star who enjoys his fame. When he bumps into dancer-wannabe-film star Peppy Miller (Bejo), a small spark of romance goes a long way into the sound era.
With so many insightful nods to the medium of film itself, using self-reflexive editing techniques and shot compositions, The Artist not only draws its audience into the visual capacities of the screen – untainted by special effects or showy stunts – but also emphasizes the stellar performances delivered through a reliance on facial expressions, gesture and dance.
While our tastes in films may lean towards faster and more action-driven films (even in terms of a story’s pace and subject matter), The Artist takes a step back in time, style and cinematic qualities, forcing us to rethink what makes great cinema and how it is such a powerful mode of storytelling.