A vintage-style silent film taking the modern world by storm.
On Monday night, I attended the evening showing of the critically acclaimed film, "The Artist", at the beautifully restored Village Theatre. It seemed very appropriate to view this vintage style film about the dawning age of motion pictures in a vintage theater complete with red, velvet curtains and an Art Deco design. The film, written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius, is silent and shown in classic black and white. It has received stellar marks all around, including ten Oscar nominations and a chance at best picture. The film stars Jean Dujardin as the famous silent film actor, George Valentin, and Bérénice Bejo as Peppy Miller, the unknown “extra” girl who rises to stardom.
The story takes place in Hollywood during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s as the silent film industry begins to be replaced by the newly developed motion picture with sound. George Valentin (Dujardin) is a famous silent film actor and heart throb (always accompanied by his adored canine companion and fellow film star, Uggie) who inadvertently discovers the loveable Peppy Miller (Bejo). Throughout the film, viewers witness the fall of the famous Valentin as he refuses to adapt to the times, while Miller rises to stardom and adapts to the changing technology and audience’s expectations. To add to the drama, there is continuous tension between the older, married Valentin, and the young, single Miller.
Now, one thing potential movie goers must keep in mind before seeing this film is that it is a silent film shot much in the fashion a film of the time period would have been. If you are not used to, or do not enjoy, this style of classic film, you may not want to commit two hours of your time to this particular movie. The film is very artistic and well made, but you must be prepared for the experience and not go into the theater expecting a modern-day romantic comedy, special effects, or the typical Hollywood blockbuster. The feeling is that of a lost film reel being resurrected from the dusty vaults of decades past and polished up for your enjoyment, complete with over-the-top facial expressions, dramatic body language, and quirky music to accompany the antics.
Fellow movie-goer and eCoronado.com member, Andrew Morse, said this to sum up his thoughts after viewing The Artist: “It was not my cup of tea, but I can see how some people might like it.”
The costumes and musical score are stellar, and the acting is very appropriate for the time period the film is set. If you’re in the mood for a little nostalgia, enjoy silent films, or just want to sample a taste of a lost art form, this is the film for you!
Length: 1 hr 40 mins
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman
Village Theatre movie times available here.
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