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The Artist – Review

clip_image002The Artist

by James Clark

Score 5/5

IF WE ARE ABLE TO SECURE A COPY OF THE FILM, THE ARTIST SHOULD BE PLAYING AT THE PLAZA LATE FEBRUARY

At the top of the critics’ lists and the 2nd biggest Oscar bait for 2012’s awards season is Paris born director Michel Hazanavicius’ sublime film The Artist. Shot entirely in black and white, the story follows George Valentin, a cock sure, hugely successful silent film star in Hollywood in the late 1920s. Valentin’s conflict comes upon the advent of talkies in the motion picture industry. Younger stars are hogging the limelight and Valentin is reduced to a has been; a personification of the destruction of silent cinema and artistry on the screen. It is for newcomer Peppy Miller, played with grace and sincerity by Argentinean beauty Berenice Bejo, to help Valentin to overcome his hubris at being rejected from the industry and shine once again on screen in a new age of cinema.

clip_image004Arguably not since Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s Singin’ in the rain 60 years ago has a film about dance, artistry and the history of the cinema left such an indelible, lasting image on the screen and in our hearts. From Ludovic Bource’s beautiful score, both uplifting and melancholic in equal measure, to the faultless performances of the film’s leads, including an extraordinary jack Russell dog, to the sumptuous cinematography that paints an incredible picture of the passion of filmmaking and originality in 1920s Hollywood, it is easy to see why people are falling for The Artist.

In an industry saturated with endless sequels and tired clichés, here is a reminder not only of the beauty and effectiveness of a simple narrative, but of the reason why we love going to the movies. A welcome and long overdue return for the silent era, arguably the most audacious and original period in the history of film. Hollywood take note. Let’s have more of the same.

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Categories: Film Reviews
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