Silent film turns on the charm

Silent film turns on the charm

Go to see The Artist. Michel Hazanavicius' black-and-white romantic comedy-drama - set in Hollywood in 1927 just as sound was coming to the movies - is outstanding.

It’s won many prizes, including five Oscars at the 2012 Academy Award ceremony in February for best film, director, actor, original score and costume design.

The French film tells the story of George Valentin's life (Jean Dujardin), a charming star of silent films, as "talking" pictures arrive.

Just like George's films, The Artist is (almost) totally silent - relying on music, a few sound effects and surtitles, or captions for dialogue. Yet you hardly notice the lack of spoken words.

At the premiere of George's new film, he bumps into a cute, aspiring actress, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo). She kisses him on the cheek for the cameras, and the photo is all over the front pages the next day.

Later on set, while filming a dance scene, they fall in love, yet do not declare their feelings. Peppy soon rockets to stardom as George, reluctant to "talk" in films, sees his own star fading. Will their love last?

One scene serves as a superb metaphor for their reversal of fortunes: Peppy climbing up a staircase as George walks down.

This exhilarating and passionate film will make you laugh - and cry. It will also leave you wondering why no one thought to make a silent film before ... But of course, in the 1920s, they did. Don't miss it.

YP Rating: 5/5

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