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- Director: Michel Hazanavicius
- Release Date: Nov 2011
- Run Time: 100
- Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy
The artist is definitely a “blast from the past”, reminding us of when all movies were silent and in black & white. It takes us back to the beginning of Hollywood, over eighty years ago.
This French movie is set in the 1920’s and is the story of George Valentin , played by Jean Dujardin, who is a mega movie star at the pinnacle of his career. Probably the modern day Brad Pitt of his time. Valentin bumps into a young lady, Peppy Miller by pure accident and is photographed with her. The dailies are then full of questions on the identity of the mystery woman is. Fate brings them back together and a relationship soon follows. Valentin’s producer warns him that his genre of movies, Silent Movies, will soon be replaced by “talkies” and advices him to adjust with the changing times. Valentin remains proud and stubborn, adamantly claiming them to be a passing fad. His woman, Peppy Miller is in the acting profession as well and begins to rise to fame and receives more and more acknowledgement as an actress in the talkies movies.
As Valentin is playing the role of a silent actor, he does not talk thus the audience is left to decipher his emotions to understand him. Jean Dujardin gives an outstanding performance on this front, something most actors of today would find more than challenging to do. He could be thrown back to the 1920’s and fit in snugly with no eyebrows raised. The wardrobe for this movie is excellently chosen and Jean Dujardin as Valentin is an easy character to be loved by the audience- without even making a sound!
Valentin refuses to adjust to the talkies, and as such, he finds his career on a downward spiral. Living up to the stereotypical French pride, he still refuses to act in the talkies and produces his own silent movie, which is a horrendous flop. To add insult to injury, his wife, Penny Miller kicks him out and he is left as a man with nothing. The movie takes us through a cocktail of emotions and the sparing use of sound makes it even more effective when used.
This movie is quite different from your normal Monday-to-Sunday entertainment which makes it a most curious watch for the adventurous viewer. It is not a public outcry for the re-introduction of the silent film, just a nostalgic reminder of the world that was.