Tuesday 29 November 2011

"The Artist"

A silent, B&W, French film that's a favorite to win an Academy Award next February. Who would have guessed? 

The Artist (2011) was written and directed by Michel Hazanacius, and stars Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Penelope Ann Miller, Malcolm MacDowell, James Cromwell, and John Goodman

Hazanacius also directed, and Dujardin and Bejo starred in, OSS 117: Cairo, Nest Of Spies, one of my favourite French films. If you get a chance, check out the chook shed scene. (Yes, we have chooks in Australia.)  Ever since I first saw Danger 5 last February, I've wondered how much influence OSS 117: Cairo, Nest Of Spies had on Dario Russo and David Ashby.

The Artist is a romance, which takes place in Hollywood between 1927 and 1932. It focuses on a declining male film star and a rising actress (much like A Star Is Born), at a time when silent movies are going out of fashion and being replaced by the talkies.  

My favourite dog in movies comes from Millers Crossing.
The Artist had its premiere at Cannes, where Dujardin won the Best Actor Award. The dog actor in the film, Uggy, won the Palm Dog Award for best performance by a canine at the festival. (I have to confess this was the first I'd heard of canine acting awards, but I'm looking forward to seeing Lassie and Rin Tin Tin pick up posthumous Academy Awards in the near future.)  

The film was shot on location in Los Angeles. While it features music from classic Hollywood films, only one song with lyrics was used on the soundtrack, "Pennies from Heaven." 

There's an excellent article in the New York Times about the film. It includes another film clip, in which the director narrates a scene from the movie. That's worth watching as well. Meanwhile, here's the trailer for The Artist.

    IMDb    NY Times    Wikipedia   

1 comment:

Kathy said...

What an extraordinary change this is, to go from movies that explain everything with dialogue and voiceovers to a movie with no speech. It's fascinating how the actors have to overact to mime instead of speak. It looks really well done. I'm not interested in the subject because it's hard to feel sorry for someone who is sorry for himself, and because it looks like the romance is adulterous, but I'm impressed by the courage of the movie makers. Do you think it will succeed commercially, Henry?