Artist, The (2011)

Release date: October 12, 2011
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Screenplay by: Michel Hazanavicius
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Uggie (dog), John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Malcolm McDowell

I don’t check out silent films (or black and white films) very often. But with The Artist, I definitely had to, considering the awards buzz and good praises surrounding it.

Amy told me the other day that my line about Hugo “reminding the world of how lovely classic films can be” was interesting, considering The Artist‘s nature. I believe that The Artist isn’t a full-fledged love letter to classic films (Scorsese did that better), but I can see it being that way too. Nonetheless, I see The Artist as a film that exposes the film industry in terms of how actors rise and fall thanks to changes made within the industry,  more often tending to cater to moviegoers attending the theaters; all of that being done through gimmicks, advertising and technical innovations.

The “fall” side of The Artist is seen through the eyes of George Valentin (Dujardin), a proud ‘silent film’ actor working during 1920-30s Hollywood at Kinograph Studios. His life starts to turn upside down once the studio he works at decides that silent films are no longer being produced, favoring the production of “talkies” (films with sound) instead. Despite the studio’s change, George works on a new silent film, all paid for by himself. Once his film tanks at the box office because “talkies” draw more money, his downward spiral worsens.

The “rise” side of the film is illustrated through Peppy Miller (Bejo), a woman who bumps into Geroge by accident during the premiere of his latest film. Peppy turned into a big movie star quickly thanks to George paving the way for her. And while George’s career worsens throughout the film, Peppy’s grows more and more.

In this current film era, The Artist feels unique given its characteristics. It may not be the greatest silent film of all time, but it’s undeniable that The Artist is a well-crafted film. It’s worth the watch thanks to its great cast, the music surronding the film and the subtlety in the details. The performances from Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo were stellar, with Dujardin being the best actor of the film. However, neither could outmatch the adorability that Uggie, who played George’s pet and sole companion, displayed in the film.

I know many people who enjoyed the lovely parts that The Artist shows, but I have to admit that I enjoyed its darker parts involving George a lot more. In particular, my favorite scene from the film was George’s nightmare. The way Dujardin played that scene along with the sound crew’s work on said scene was amazing.

While The Artist was enjoyable to watch, I find it inevitable to wonder if other filmmakers are going to jump on the bandwagon and start making films like this one.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Rodrigo

YAM Magazine contributor, has a B. Sc. degree in Science/Pharmacy and is a very lazy person.

10 Responses

  1. amy says:

    The question is… are you going to be watching some more silents and/or black&white films after it? You know we have a VERY good list with the Beginner’s Guide to Silent Films and the one with Early Best Picture winners… though, Marya does great Beginner’s Guides to help us through the scary world of classic film. xD

    And to give Uggie a run for his money, you really need to find the korean movie Blind – that was one heck of a dog performance.

    • Rodrigo says:

      @amy, Your question is more poignant and makes me look bad/lazy, lol. Considering my lazyness, I would have to live with Marya to see silent and B&W films.

      Maybe I should try seeing a couple of those one day. It might be easier to do that next month before other films show up.

      • amy says:

        @Rodrigo, you can go visit her in SF and go to the Castro Theater every week haha. Yeah, earlier in the year it’s easier to catch up before Summer blockbusters, fall season and award season begins once again.

        There are a few ready on YouTube. If you check The Kid review, I think I left a link of where to watch it on YouTube.

  2. Castor says:

    Happy you finally got to check this out Rodrigo! :D As you said, maybe not a life-changing film but excellently crowded and oh so pleasing. I’m glad it won Best Picture last night.

  1. February 26, 2012

    […] Read my review of The Artist at YAM Magazine. […]

  2. September 17, 2013

    […] films like The Artist and Hugo released last year, classic film is becoming more and more visible and the TCMFF is the […]

  3. October 22, 2013

    […] pesar de haber ganado varios premios al ser considerada una cinta de cine mudo moderna, El Artista no hizo nada original, dejándonos con las ganas de una película silente con algo de carne en esos […]

  4. October 28, 2013

    […] all the awards it won for being a modern silent film, The Artist didn’t bring anything all that original to the table, leaving some wishing for a silent […]

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