The Artist

★★★★★★★★★★

As I have explained earlier, my family and I have a tradition of going to see all of the Oscar nominated films before the Academy Awards ceremony is televised.  Because of our tradition, I saw The Artist in the theater.  I am extremely thankful that I had the opportunity to do so because The Artist was not a film that I traditionally would have been drawn to.  I was overjoyed when I watched the Academy Awards and cheered on The Artist to its five Oscars, including the Best Motion Picture.  Many others were excited to watch The Artist receive many of the awards it definitely deserves, including Andrew and Adrian Nuño, two aspiring film directors and producers.

I knew relatively little about The Artist, and as I watched the opening scenes, I was slightly unsettled because I didn’t know that it was a silent film.  It took me a while to get used to the silent nature of the film because in the current day, audiences rely heavily on action packed films with lots of dialogue.  Andrew Nuño stated, “what is fascinating about The Artist is how it goes back to the silent era of movies… an era where the music was the actor’s voices and the actors truly had to act.  To release this film in an era where movies clearly have dialogue and sounds is bold.  However, The Artist not only manages to bring back the ‘silent film’, but it also sends us on a history trip to the time where ‘talkies’, as they were called, were the new thing.”

The two main characters played by Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo are developed phenomenally and their performances are impeccable.  Dujardin and Bejo are required to act exceptionally well so the audience can understand what is occurring on screen.  Their body language and facial expressions tell a unique story in themselves.

The Artist is an exceptional film that will not be easily forgotten, but there is one scene staring Bejo that will never fade from memory.  It is similar to the hitchhiking scene in the 1934 film It Happened One Night, in which the leading lady is played by Claudette Colbert.  Colbert hitches up her skirt and immediately flags down tons of cars offering them a ride.  The scene in The Artist involves Bejo daydreaming about Dujardin, imagining that he is hugging her.  Dujardin interrupts, leaving an embarrassed Bejo and a laugh for all audiences.  Part of the beauty of this scene is the silent nature, if there had been dialogue it would not have had such a strong impact.

Aside from the excellent acting and photography in The Artist, the classical music is beyond spectacular.  The twists and turns within the musical score correspond directly with the events happening on screen.  When asked about the musical score, Adrian Nuño responded, “The Artist is a dazzling form of entertainment in a society that is fully dependent on audio to deliver its story.  In this case, the glorious score from Ludovic Bource is the voice of the characters, which was a completely new take (at least for movies today) for a cinematic experience.”

If you have not yet experienced The Artist, then you are missing out.  Adrian calls The Artist “a love letter to the motion pictures of the 1920’s and 1930’s”.  Grab your reading glasses and sit down to enjoy this fabulous letter.

(photo from www.filmofilia.com)

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