Monday, 27 February 2012

The artistry of "The Artist"

On Saturday afternoon I went to the movies to escape the heat.  I didn't really care what I saw, as long as I had the opportunity to enjoy air conditioning for a couple of hours.  I decided to see the black and white silent film called "The Artist".  What a great choice!

With 11 Oscar nominations, I see that the film won in several categories, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a leading role for Jean Dujardin, Best Director for Michael Hazanavicius, Music (Original Score) for Ludovic Bource, and Costume Design for Mark Bridges. These are all very much deserved.

I was a little skeptical at first, wondering whether or not I would enjoy a silent film.  In this day and age!  But those fears were quickly dismissed as I was drawn in to this story of an actor struggling to reinvent himself in the face of huge technological changes in the movie world, that is, the introduction of sound to movie making.

It is also a charming, old-fashioned love story.  The scene where Peppy Miller sneaks into George Valentin's dressing room and flirts with his tail coat hanging on a stand is joyful, playful and imaginative story telling that wins the audience over with its charm. I sat in the audience smiling widely and enjoying the experience of a story being told with no words.  This shouldn't surprise me, as I spend lots of time talking about the three channels of face to face communication, based on Albert Mehrabian's work.  He says that only 7% depends on the actual words said, the rest is made up of visual/body language (55%) and vocal tone (38%).  Of course it's possible to convey meaning, advance a narrative and evoke feeling without hearing the actors speak.

There are also some wonderful metaphors in the film - the nightmare in the film where George Valentin finds himself voiceless, his battle with his own shadow, the confrontation with himself.  It's extraordinary!

Do not be put off by the fact that it's black and white and is's a great experience.  Worth having even if you're not just there to cool off in the air conditioning.

However, there is one glaring problem.  Uggie the Jack Russell plays George Valentin's dog and steals several scenes.  Where is his recognition?

No comments:

Post a Comment