Thursday, June 14, 2012

L'ARTISTE
(THE ARTIST)

Citi-Rustans French Film Festival
Cinema 1, Shang Cineplex




*** Repost: The winner for Best Motion Picture at the 2012 Oscars is among the movies featured for this year's French Film Festival. ***


It is 1927 and George Valentin is at the peak of his career. The silent movie star is also aware that his fame and fortune is at stake with the advent of the talkies. Yet he vehemently refuses to change with the times mostly due to his massive ego and his pride.

One of the extras in his film is a young aspiring actress named Peppy Miller. A wide eyed gal filled with ambitions to succeed in the movie industry. She does achieve stardom through a little prodding from Valentin and also by her own merit.

As Valentin's star begins its decline, he has only his obedient Jack Russell terrier and his faithful chauffeur Clifton for company. He is forced to sell off his possessions after a film he produced and starred in bombs at the box office. Miller meanwhile is the new It Girl, with a bright future ahead. She wants to help him, but again, his pride stands in the way.

In this cinematic day of loud action sequences, computer generated images and stunning cinematography, this black and white movie without any spoken dialogue but filled with up tempo music reminiscent of silent movies is quite refreshing to watch.

The delight mostly stems from the fine acting skills of the main characters who provided broad but heartfelt performances that mirror the era. They had good chemistry together and individually. Their on and off screen projections were palpable and quite credible. You'd really think they were silent movie stars!

"The Artist" is a fitting tribute to a bygone era of classic Hollywood films which were able to charm its audience by weaving a compelling storyline with true to life characters that truly uplifted cinema and film making to an art form.

I just found it a bit odd that it took French actors and a French film production crew to come up with a film about the silent movies era of Hollywood. Nonetheless, their brilliantly innovative concept (filming sans dialogue) worked. It truly deserves all the 'best picture' accolades it received from most if not all of the award giving bodies.

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