katrinaolson.ca - Artist, The

Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at 12:00 AM

Movie: Artist, The

If you blended Strike (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925), Gold Diggers of 1933 (Mervyn LeRoy, 1933), some Busby Berkeley choreography, The Hollywood Review of 1929 (Charles Reisner), the class and sophistication of Casablanca, Citizen Kane (Orson Wells, 1941), and Celebrity (Woody Allen, 1998) you would most definitely end up with The Artist (Michael Hazanavicus, 2011).

I feel very privileged to have experience the Calgary pre-screening of the film The Artist. The Artist is a silent, black and white film, set in 1927-1932 about a silent film actor named George Valentin (played by the very handsome French actor Jean Dujardin who won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his role and has a striking resemblance to old Hollywood actor John Gilbert).  George crosses path with a young, beautiful aspiring actress who as fate has it changes his destiny. George falls on hard time with the transition of the silent era into the talkies era of film during the depression.  The Artist has a full line-up of recognizable American actors from my generation, like John Goodman (who everyone who grew up in the 90’s remembers as the Dad on Roseanne), James Cromwell (Bad Cop in L.A. Confidential), and Missi Pyle (who I see most frequently as the crazy Mom when my kids watch Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

This film has simplicity that everyone needs right now. It is no surprise how many nominations it received.  For Jean Dujardin to carry an entire feature length film on expressions and body language alone in a day in age where he is competing with the technology of 3-D and HD in the theater, this film brought an element of audio unity I have only experience in university theaters watching the silent films. For the first time in a public theater, the acoustic environment was determined by the reaction of the audience to the visual presentation of the film. It made me feel rather nostalgic towards the late nineteen 20’s, where going to see a film, although silent, would be accompanied by an orchestra and the sounds of the engaged viewers who dressed in their latest and greatest formal attire.  The Artist was the first film in Canada I have ever seen where the audience clapped at the end (with the exception of special screenings where actors and directors are present). That felt very special.

Technically, the low-key lighting made the actors expressions all the more believable. When the plot thickened, so did the musical accompaniment and the use of canted framing gave the audience an unsettled feeling until both the situation and framing was restored. The dissolves between frames were so authentic and lent to the genuine film going experience before splicing became the norm.

The Artist is the perfect date movie, perfect anytime for anyone who wants to be in a better mood movie, and definitely a fantastic film for movie buffs. I highly recommend going to see this film, just for the audience engagement alone.

Photos courtesy of The Artist- The Weinstein Company http://weinsteinco.com/sites/the-artist/

Special thanks to Calgary Movies http://www.calgarymovies.com/

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NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.