Michel Hazanavicius | France | 2011 | 101mins | Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell
Lovingly made and ecstatically received, The Artist looks certain to be an Oscar contender. Aspiring starlet Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) gets her big break when a chance photo with the world’s biggest movie star, George Valentin (Dujardin), ends up on the cover of Variety.
Set against a Hollywood in transition from silent film to the talkies, a whimsical love story emerges between the two as her star soars, and his begins to fade. Reaching beyond what is quintessentially a romantic comedy, The Artist is a deftly-penned love letter to a bygone age in cinema.
This black-and-white film is (almost) silent, shot entirely on location in Los Angeles and peppered with seamless winks to films of the silent era and beyond including Citizen Kane, Singing in the Rain and The Apartment. Spot-on production design, score and cinematography lovingly recreate a 1920s Hollywood somewhere between legend and reality.
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