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Film Description

Film Description


The Artist

A crowd favourite at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival®, Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist is a love letter to 1920s Hollywood that resurrects silent cinema as a powerful and complex storytelling medium. Shot entirely in black and white, without dialogue and utilizing a traditional 1.33 aspect ratio, the film remains faithful to the period it represents, avoiding the trap of pastiche through a sincere appreciation of the cinematic possibilities offered by classic silent film.

Jean Dujardin (Little White Lies) plays George Valentin, an actor whose matinee-idol good looks and arrogant but good-natured charm evokes Douglas Fairbanks at his best. George is at the height of his career in 1927, when he accidentally bumps into a beautiful and aspiring actress named Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), and the ensuing press coverage sets her on the path to unexpected fame.

George, however, quickly finds himself on the opposite track, as sound begins to dominate the screens. Refusing to accept this modern innovation, he finances his own silent feature in 1929 and loses it all. His wife leaves him and his fans forget him. Broken and alone, George fades into the shadows of old Hollywood.

At the same time, new It-girl Peppy finds herself at the forefront of the sound phenomenon. As her star status rises, she never forgets the man who gave her the start she needed; and she resolves to help George in any way she can.

The Artist tells a familiar story, reminiscent of classics like Sunset Boulevard and Singing In The Rain, but Hazanavicius and cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman breathe new life into an old tale. Their skilful handling of a style that could easily have turned into camp enables for a newfound appreciation not only for silent cinema, but also for melodrama and the intense emotional effects the genre can deliver. Above all, The Artist offers a joyous look back to a golden age, and will leave audiences nostalgic for a cinematic form that, as Hazanavicius proves, hasn’t lost its resonance.


“Michel Hazanavicius’s black-and-white throwback to cinema’s silent era may seem steeped in fusty nostalgia, but it glitters and gleams with utterly of-the-moment wit and romantic zest.” – Anne Hornaday, The Washington Post


Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller
Year: 2011
Runtime: 116 minutes
Country: France
Language: English
Distributor: Alliance Films

Ratings: ON NR / BC NR / AB NR / SK NR / MB NR / QC NR / Maritmes NR


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