Digital 3D has welcomed Spielberg and Scorsese but at this year’s Oscar, the Best Picture award went to a good reel of black and white which is just like the pioneering films which made people smile the Great Depression.
The Artist is far from revolutionary. It has been done before just like in the Silent Movie of Mel Brooks in 1976. The story line is also not new with a troubled character successfully rekindling a line of communication with the public.
Check out the A Star is Born and Singin in the Rain and you will notice the key references. The Artist starts things off with a premier where George Valentin played by Jean Dujardin screens his newest film to a big reception. The lead character is like the epitome of silent film icons, slick hair, eyebrows fixed, mustache groomed, and a perfect jaw line.
After the premier, George is seen with Peppy Miller portrayed by Berenice Bejo a professional dancer that gets a role for a next project. The presence of of Peppy and Valentin screams amid the silence. Just seeing them is pure pleasure.
Then the talkies come (but of course we do not hear it). It is an innovation that brings his star to stardom. And George, who remains silent, falls out of favor.
The director Hazanvicius was able to make good use of all conventions of the silent cinema and made use of them well we must say. It is entertaining from start to finish with a good blend of conflicts and comical relief.
The Artist might not be appreciated by everyone but it deals a lot with a good dose of history, art, and cinema. It is a great watch even when in line with the very modern Hugo of Scorsese.