The Artist (2012) speaks volumes

Photo Credit: The Artist / Warner Bros
George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a beloved silent movie actor who laughs off the rise of talking pictures. When the new era of the film arrives, his star fades away from Hollywoodland and a young fresh starlet Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) becomes the next big thing. Through misunderstandings and mistimed opportunities their budding romance is tested.

Our main character Georg Valentin harbors a terrifying fear underneath his brimming smile and suave. He does not want to speak on film. Director Michel Hazanavicius artistically toys with his silence and the sound of a new era.

In one memorable scene, Valentin's fear  transforms into a nightmare where he can hear the sounds of objects being knocked over, people laughing, and a feather crashing into a concrete sidewalk. The mixture of his terror, the absence of the score playing, and the sound effects of only the objects getting knocked around, is one of many moments where Hazanavicius' creativity and artistry is on display.

The incompatibility and chemistry between George Valentin and Peppy Miller is her enthusiastic acceptance for the new era of film and his ignorance. In succumbing and trusting Miller about re-emerging into entertainment, Valentin eventually speaks for the first time: it's powerful, yet simple and reserved. As beautiful as silence can be beautiful, a few words spoken can even still be more golden. In the era where all we seem to do is talk, The Artist made me a little bit a speechless.

Cheesy as it sounds, The Artist though a silent film spoke to me on several levels. As the emergence of talkies paves the way in Hollywood, and silent films vanish from entertainment, I couldn't help but think of this new fangled world in the 2000s. Where our thoughts were placed in paper journals or were fleeting thoughts soon forgotten. Now what we say and do is broadcasted everyone online. As much as we are encouraged to lend our voices on these sites, I am still in limbo of putting myself  out there without prohibitions or guarding my self-expression.

In the plain old sense of being an audience member lost in the world of Valentin, I connected with this scene. As a blogger, and well human being in a highly connective world, I was reminded about how I clunk around from site to site trying to put exactly the right words and tone out there to be understood and heard. Perhaps, this doesn't even relate to me on even a virtual level but an real world level as well since naturally I am an intense introvert, taking me a long time to warm up to connecting with others.

Rating: ★★
Have you seen The Artist? What did you think?

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