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The Artist – BFI London Film Festival 2011 Day Five

  Wednesday 19th October 2011

SAT 22ND OCTOBER – 2.45 PM VUE LEICESTER SQUARE

Michel Hazanavicius is a French director, producer and screenwriter best know for spy movie parody OSS 117: Cario, Nest of Spies and OSS 117: Lost in Rio. Parody is certainly Hazanavicius’s forteand Jean Dujardin is defiantly the man for the job.

Hazanavicius was already well known for the two parody films OSS 117.

When first considering The Artist, one must think about risk. What is a film when there is no risk involved? Risk is intriguing and somewhat of an enjoyable journey. This film is very much one of these, well – as far as Hugh Weinstein from The Weinstein Company is concerned. Set in the 1920’s, silent and in black and white, it is a wonder it is pitched to do so well. The Artist competed for the Palme d’Or reward at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, only to lose out to Terrance Malick’s Tree of Life.

This postmodern joke of a film is much more refined than one ever seen before. Homage to the golden age Classics of the Hollywood empire, The Artist plays on expressions and emotions much like the films of the Silent era. The fascinating score plays upon silence and soundtrack manipulation is mixed with the occasion diegetic sound for a comedic effect. The black and white footage brings us back home with a direct influence and design.

Even the story line is a celebration of filmmaking, from the beautiful leads (Jean Dujardin and Bérénicé Bejo – Hazanavicius’s wife) to the strong-minded bigheaded Director of the studio.

The dramatisation from scene to scene is amazing, a perfect contrast to the mockingly amusing ‘non-dialogue’. Everything seems to be funny, even when it is not supposed to be, you’ll hardly ever see someone without a smile on his or her face. A story of love and success mixed with a massive ego conflict: Peppy Miller, an aspiring actress, succeeds a famous actor who helps her to achieve her dream, only to revive his career. This intriguing mix of classicism versus modern humour makes a perfect postmodern production that any director should be proud of. This is a must see for those with an open mind and a good pair of eyes for all that parody spotting. Fantastically emotional and visually brilliant, it’ll have you laughing until you cry.

Bethany Stone

Read more reviews from the 55th London Film Festival here

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