Of Puppetry and Artistry
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle, Bitsie Tulloch, Ken Davitian
Synopsis: Hollywood 1927. George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a silent movie superstar. The advent of the talkies will sound the death knell for his career and see him fall into oblivion. For young extra Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), it seems the sky`s the limit – major movie stardom awaits. THE ARTIST tells the story of their interlinked destinies.
"The Artist" is the winner of The Golden Globe Awards for- Best Picture (Comedy/Musical), Best Actor (Jean Dujardin), Best Score and has also bagged 10 Academy Award Nominations including BEST DIRECTOR (Michel Hazanavicius), BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (Berenice Bejo), BEST ACTOR (Jean Dujardin), BEST PICTURE.
Review: In this big world, there is so much to see, hear, feel and warm up to like places of visit, many of nature’s gifts to mankind, music, movies etc. Similarly, there are movies that make you laugh, make you cry and sulk and then there are those that inevitably make it to the list of your all time favourites. Then there are those rare few that make you an instant fan and promises to stick with you for a long time.
"The Artist" is 21st Century’s answer to emotions on screen with all the right ingredients that you need in an entertainer. Right from the leads, Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo or Uggie – the dog, all of whom were outstanding and memorable… having given some stellar performances from day one of the shooting. The entire crew has an interesting history behind them, making them all highly acclaimed actors including Uggie who is known to be a hard-working dog.
In a path-breaking attempt, the writer-director and performers of “The Artist” tell their audiences how imperative emoting is. It’s eventually not about the dialogue delivery or the jazz, but your screen presence that shall be remembered for a long time. Ever thought that making your dream come true was a cakewalk? For this film’s writer-director, Michel Hazanivicius, a dream (one which could only be completed with a lot of diligence and conviction), is executed and culminate,d going on to earn all the accolades it deserves. Bravo!
The film is set in the early days of Hollywood in circa 1927, when the only kind of movies were the silent feature films – and Charlie Chaplin is the first name one can remember; however, when a new genre made it’s way into Hollywood – that of the Talkies, it took the world by storm. The first talkie was “The Jazz Singer” that released in 1927. The audiences are open to change and everyone in the entertainment business believes in giving the audiences what they need, while there is little place for an off-beat thought unfortunately.
Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, a superstar of the silent movie era who also makes many women go weak in their knees at the sheer sight of him perform. It starts dawning on him only later how his belief in originality as opposed to inviting newness shall lead him to a self-destructive situation and the only plausible answer to misery is getting rid of the cause itself. (Something we have seen a little too much of in the recent past with the line-up of tragic stardom lives).
Berenice Bejo plays a very realistic upcoming star who still has her feet on the ground even after achieving a lot in a short span of time. It’s most endearing to see her feelings for Jean surface at many instances during the course of the movie. Despite the popularity, the humility does not escape her. Uggie is an important character throughout the film, imagine how proud the entire dog fraternity must be to have their fellow dog get such a meaty role. (No pun intended). Everyone else is an equal level performer and there should barely a comparison when all actors do justice to the roles they are assigned.
A fabulously woven script, great background music, all emotions in place is everything this film is about. The silence was so real that for once you may even attempt to breathe softly so you can hear the movie but all you hear is the facial expressions that speak out to you or perhaps, your heartbeat. A perfect yet touching tribute to the magnificent “silent era” of Hollywood before more heard of names like Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe etc. came about. I did read somewhere many years back how actors were puppets at the hands of the director, post this remarkable experience however, the difference between a puppet and an artist became crystal clear.
Verdict: You don’t need a reason to go and watch Art come to Life.
The Artist has been nominated in 10 categories at the Academy Awards 2012, including for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. It releases in theatres on Friday