WBRi Movie Review: The Artist (2012) - One of the Most Heart Touching English Films Of The Recent Times

The Artist (2012) English Movie PosterCalcutta, India, February 25, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) What is the only the thing that can absolutely destroy an artist? If only his art is snatched away, the artist will cease to live. He may be breathing without it, but his life actually lies within his art. This is something we get to see in the film ‘The Artist’, directed by Michel Hazanavicius. Once in a decade you get to see such a movie which makes you revisit the theatre and come out with the same heart drenching feeling every time you watch it. The lead revolves around the time period of 1927 – 1932 which marked the last phase of the silent movies and the beginning of the talkies era. The film is about the relationship of a veteran actor with a young actress and how the technological revolution in the world of film plays a role in changing their lives.

The film opens in the premiere of a film starring ‘George Valentin’ (played by Jean Dujardin) when a young female fan, pushed by the crowd, by chance trips over him. The photographers present on this occasion did not quiet want to miss this chance. ‘Peppy Miller’ (Berenice Bejo), the lady involved shockingly (or surprisingly!) discovers herself in a photograph with ‘Valentin’ on the front page of a leading newspaper. Peppy, who was also an aspiring actress, goes for an audition after this incident takes place where she was identified by ‘Valentin’ who helped her to bag the lead role. In spite of the crackling chemistry between the two, no affair takes place as ‘Valentin’ is a (though unhappily) married man and was very strict on this part.

While ‘Peppy’ was gradually approaching the path of success, there came the talkies, a huge technological leap in the field of cinema. ‘Valentin’, who was very strongly passionate about the pure form of acting, was dead against allowing technology to take away the essence of art. From here the story takes a new turn with the fall of Valentin and the rise of Peppy. To know what happens next you need to watch the film.

Trailer: The Artist (English, 2012)

Words cannot describe the performances put up by Jean Duardin and Bernice Bejo. It is definitely a love story but at times it makes the audience feel whether it is the love a man and a woman or that between an artist and his art is the prime focus of the film. The romance between Valentin and Peppy is very aptly portrayed. It is a refreshing change that there was no need to create a physical bonding between the lead characters as a representation of love. The distant relationship and the strong male ego of Valentin bring their relation much closer to heart of the audiences.

Black and white is the best medium of story telling and Hazanavicius very efficiently proves this point. This treatment on one hand creates room for imagination on the part of the audience and helps to maintain the classic look of the concerned period on the other. Beautiful is a word that may fall short for the cinematography and the credit goes to Guillaume Schiffman. The music composed by Ludovic Bource was very well in sync with the script as well as it has been a complete treat to the ear.

The best actor award was received by Jean Dujardin for his commendable performance in this film. The film has been nominated for 6 golden globes and 10 Oscars and has already bagged 7 BAFTAs.

Special mention needs to be made of the dog Uggie who played the role of ‘Valentin’s pet who has also been one of his partners in the movies played by him. This poodle earned accolades if not awards from the critics and audiences all over the world.

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