Possibly one of the most joyously enjoyable films to screen in the Cannes competition – especially for lovers of classic Hollywood cinema – THE ARTIST is a real pleasure… Shot in beautiful black-and-white, silent (apart from a few brief moments of sound) and propelled elegantly forward by delightful performances from Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo it is the most unlikely of feel-good movies.
George Valentin (Dujardin) is at the height of his powers in 1927 when he meets the vivacious and warm-hearted Peppy Miller (Bejo), who is trying to break into the movies through work as an extra. In a plot similar to “A Star Is Born” and “Singin’ In The Rain”, as Peppy Miller’s star is in the ascendance as the studios look for new fresh new talent with nice voices, so George’s career dips. The Wall Street crash arrives only to seal his fall from popularity as he invests all of his money in an overblown silent African adventure film “Tears Of Love.”
Sound does briefly – and engagingly – dip into the film. In an amusing dream (or nightmare for him) scene, George imagines the sudden appearance of sound in the studio as suddenly he can hear voices and winces as even a feather falls to the floor. In the very final scene there is the briefest moment of dialogue. Hazanavicius manages to give the film a real sense of charm and warmth, and film fans will be competing to spot visual and musical references.
ACME FILM OÜ
Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo