The Artist * Michel Hazanavicius (2011)

When I heard about this film when it was just out, I was immediately interested to see it. Then came all the prices and attention and my interest went down somewhat. Meanwhile the film was no longer shown in the cinemas either (weird actually). A very small local cinema announced this film just before last week’s Oscars and we got ourselves tickets. Well, “The Artist” is a wonderfull film and justly receives all the praise that it does. “The Artist” begins as a silent film about the silent film, shooting the audience, the orchestra that plays the music, the screen and the actors and producer who are watching from the back of the screen. The main actor is Georges Valentin, the absolute hero of the big screen, the most famous man in the world. Accidentally Georges bumps into Peppy Miller who is blunt enough to obtain a role in Valentin’s new film without having a shred of experience in acting. Peppy’s beauty is one of the carrying elements of the “The Artist”, just as she quickly becomes so of the films she plays in. Then the “talkie” is invented, the film with sound. Valentin is against it, Peppy Miller’s star keeps rising as she naturally gears up to the next hot thing. Valentin’s fame goes down and Miller tries to hold him on track. Thus a ‘romantic comedy’ unfolds.
“The Artist” is also filmographically interesting. The film within the film that becomes the film itself; wide camera angles with a lot happening in different parts of the screen; the 1930’ies atmosphere; subtle jokes with the silent and “talkie” film; and there is of course the famous dog. Wonderfull stages, a perfect melancholic, romantic atmosphere, old fashioned close-ups, beautiful cars. Of course there are also a few things negative to say, but just let me conclude that “The Artist” may be a large-audience film, it is very original and very well executed.

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