The Artist is the type of film that reminds you what cinema is about. It reminded me what I love about cinema, and how it changes and evolves over time. When the first ‘talkies’ were produced in the 1930s, Silent Cinema became obsolete. Who wanted to just watch actors when they could hear them too?
Then, out of nowhere comes The Artist, a silent movie for a new era. This film is one of the cleverest and most original movies that I have ever seen. Nothing like it has been seen in a cinema in years, which is the beauty of it! The film plays with the idea of sound in silent cinema and reality, as in a dream sequence George Valentin struggles with a world where sound exists, but he has no voice, a metaphor for the fading silent movie era stars.
Through its silence, The Artist does a fantastic job of drawing the audience in. In a similar way to how subtitles work in world cinema, the lack of speech in this film causes the audience to participate in the story more actively, becoming involved in order to gauge the plot. The use of fairly unknown leading actors also contributed to this effect, as cinema-goers were forced to concentrate on the story rather than the famous faces.
The acting in this movie was superb, of a higher standard than has been seen on the silver screen in quite a while. Without being the typical Oscar-hungry epic, The Artist shows its worth via pure acting skill, showcased through a variety of layers of story, including dreamscapes, silent era, sound era etc. a commendation must also be awarded to the little dog, who stole every scene.
A film like this rarely comes along. For the older generations to accept this new silent film into their traditional hearts is extraordinary, but for that same film to appeal to generations 60 years younger. Well, that’s something you don’t see every day.
Here’s hoping no copycats try and make their own silent films. This one is a masterpiece.