The Artist DVD
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Directed by Michel Hazanavicius
Produced in 2011
Main Language - Silent
Contemporary Comedy • Contemporary Period, Costume, Historical Film • Contemporary Romance • Contemporary Blu-rays • Silent Film Comedy • European Film • French Film • Blu-ray • Romantic Comedy • Silent Film Comedy • Comedy Blu-rays
One of the most entertaining films of the year, The Artist is one of those rare cinematic events where all the stars align, a perfect fit between subject matter and talent. Shot as a (mostly) silent film, in faded black and white, this spirited comedy-melodrama is a love-letter to a bygone era of filmmaking, complete with intertitles.
Set in 1927, Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, a silent film star celebrating the success of his latest hit along with his animal co-star, Jack (terrier extraordinaire, Uggie). But the silent era is coming to an end, and Valentin faces competition from Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), an up-and-coming it-girl. Facing ruin, Valentin is torn between his fight to cling on to stardom, and his love for his fresh-faced young rival.
Before The Artist swept the Oscars, Dujardin and director Michel Hazanavicius were best known for the OSS 117 spy parodies, in which Dujardian played suave secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath. Cleverer and classier than Austin Powers (2007), Cairo: Nest of Spies (2006) and Lost in Rio (2009) were likeable, politically-incorrect romps that gave early clues to The Artist’s triumphant success.
The first clue was Hazanavicius’s uncanny ability to recreate period detail – not only in terms of dress and locations, but, with Guillaume Schiffman’s cinematography, the impression that the films were actually shot in the 50s and 60s on overlit plywood sets using vintage film stock. The Artist takes this sense of immersion to a new level, with a 1.33:1 aspect ratio and off-kilter frame rate, and it’s a reminder of how beautiful black and white film can look.
The second clue was in Dujardin’s performance – here was a former comedian and TV actor effortlessly channelling the charisma of leading men such as Sean Connery, Cary Grant or Ivan Desny (who starred in a non-parody OSS 117 film in 1956). There was no way that Hollywood was going to ignore Dujardin’s dashing looks and matinee idol swagger for long, but the main obstacle to international stardom was the fact he couldn’t speak English (a problem The Artist elegantly solves).
Dujardin really does feel like a star from a different era, and this film feels less like an exercise in nostalgia, and more like an love affair rekindled; its simplicity of storytelling and style of filmmaking recalls a whole world of cinema that’s waiting to be rediscovered.
Milo Wakelin on 23rd March 2012
Author of 103 reviews
One of the most acclaimed films in years, Michel Hazanavicius's modern-day silent film comedy The Artist tells the story of a silent movie star facing decline with the advent of the talkies. Recalling classics such as Singin' in the Rain and A Star is Born, this is a delightful comedy, universal in its appeal.
Jean Dujardin takes on the role of George Valentin, one of the biggest stars of the silent movie era. George seems to have the perfect life: he loves his work, enjoys adoration from fans and falls in love with a beautiful young starlet, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), after working with her on a movie. Studio boss Zimmer (John Goodman) warns him that the future of film making lies in 'talkies', but George is dismissive of the threat. However, as films with audible dialogue begin to take off - with Peppy the undoubted star of the new medium - George struggles to keep pace with a changing world. Nominated for 10 Oscars at the 2012 Oscars, The Artist won five, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Dujardin).
In keeping with the era of filmmaking in which it rejoices, The Artist is largely silent and is shot in black and white with a 1.37:1 aspect ratio.
Publisher: Entertainment in Video
Length: 100 mins
Cat No: EDV9731
Format: DVD Colour
- Interviews: Cast and Crew
- 'Hollywood As a Character - the Locations of the Artist', 'The Artisans Behind the Artist', Blooper Reel.
by Howard Schumann on 18th March 2012
French director Michel Hazanavicius surprise hit The Artist is a charming recreation of the silent film era of the late 1920s that focuses on how the advent of talking... Read on
French director Michel Hazanavicius surprise hit The Artist is a charming recreation of the silent film era of the late 1920s that focuses on how the advent of talking pictures spelled the end of careers for those silent film stars who could not or would not make the transition. Capturing a time of simplicity in which movies reflected creativity and imagination as much as their ability to make money, the film introduces the wonderful French actor Jean Dujardin to Western audiences and he is irresistible with his broad smile, thin mustache, and snappy dance steps that suggest Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.
The artist in question is George Valentin (Dujardin), a silent screen star who downplays the advent of talkies to his gruff producer Al Zimmer (John Goodman), calling it a passing phase. George still has thousands of loyal fans and lives a life of comfort with a huge house in Hollywood, a lovely wife, and a loyal dog. All of these comforts are threatened, however, when George meets Peppy Miller (Brnice Bejo), a dark-haired beauty who is a talented dancer and actress with potential star power.
George is called yesterdays man by his producer and, as Peppy starts to climb the ladder to success, Georges star recedes, but he does not give up easily. Refusing to participate in talking films, he leaves Zimmer and sets up his own company to produce a silent adventure film but it bombs at the box office while people line up to see Peppy in her debut films. Although his fortunes are on the want, Peppy remains his friend and looks after George when he is injured in the fire and brings him to her house to convalesce.
The Artist takes you where you would least expect to go and surprise follows surprise. An homage to the comedies and musicals of the silent era, it is a film that bursts with enthusiasm and life. Though it may be lightweight, it can nonetheless break new ground if it can serve as a reminder, not only of what we have lost in our films with their increasing subservience to technology but, more importantly, of what has gone missing from the quality of our lives.