Cast: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller,
Directed By: Michel Hazanavicius
This silent, black and white film reminds one of a bygone era, before the talkies happened. Though few might feel like giving it a miss due to its lack of sound and color, this romantic comedy is entertaining in its own way, and brings forth the pitfalls in the advancement to the talkies. The movie won five Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score and Best Actor (Jean Dujardin).
It’s 1927; George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a top Hollywood star, who basks in the limelight forgetting his co – stars at will. His marriage is far from what he would like it to be. By chance he meets up with aspiring actress Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo). He is photographed with her and they make it to a magazine cover. George grooms Peppy and gives her a spot as an extra on his next silent picture. The movie does well and George and Peppy are big stars.
But sound age has dawned and Kinograph Studios offers George and Peppy a role in their next film. George refuses to work with Kinograph and sneers at producers stating that audiences are interested in seeing film stars faces on screen, rather than their voices. His pride and star status prevents him from taking the offer. The studio instead takes on Peppy.
In 1929, the stock market crash and George’s first film as producer – director – star, bombs, while Peppy’s debut with Kinograph becomes a hit. George loses his money, his wife (Penelope Ann Miller) and his sprawling mansion. With no money to pay even his chauffeur (James Cromwell), George sacks him. George tries to commit suicide, but is rescued by his dog Jack Russell Terrier (Uggie).
Peppy meanwhile is on top of the world. She hears about George’s downfall. Will she go back to her mentor who had once given her the big break?
The film score takes you on a journey of the rising star, it makes you tap your feet to with George Valentin and the very next moment you feel the agony of him losing the grip on his career. Music has an even greater role in silent films and Ludovic delivers an absolute peach with ‘The Artist’. The film’s climatic scene is set to Bernard Herrmann’s Scene d’amour from his score to Alfred Hitchcock’s film ‘Vertigo’. If you like orchestral music, ‘The Artist’ soundtrack is a beautiful rendition of French and American influences.
Reviewed By Verus Ferreira