The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius
Silence was golden at this year’s Oscars, with this charming throwback to Hollywood’s black-and-white heyday soft-shoeing away with statuettes for Best Picture, Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius) and Best Actor (Jean Dujardin).
Dashingly moustachioed Dujardin stars as George Valentin, early film heartthrob and silent cinema purist, who soon finds himself relegated to relic status with the advent of the talkies. With mounting bitterness he’s left to watch the meteoric rise of the beautiful young ingénue Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), whose career he initially assisted.
It’s easy to see why this riches-to-rags-and-back-again tale resonated with the AMPAS: with the ‘digital revolution’ necessitating major changes to film delivery and distribution methods, the modern industry faces a radical paradigm shift of its own.
The Artist reassures that although modes and formats might change, cinema goes on. Dujardin and Miller have old-fashioned, screen-illuminating chemistry, but the playful Jack Russell Terrier Uggie steals every scene.
The Artist is now available on DVD ($39.95).
Gerard Elson works at Readings St Kilda.