Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Artist

I'm taking a break this week from writing about new releases.  Instead, I want to bring to your attention a movie that swept the awards circuit but that you may have missed, as I did.  You see, I live in a small town, and "artsy" movies either pass us by entirely, or make a brief half-week stay.  Which all goes to explain how I missed The Artist last year.  It's just been released on DVD, though, so you can easily pick up this award-winning gem.

The Artist is that rarity among films - a risk-taker.  Set during the tumultuous few years when film whipsawed from silents to "talkies," the film is a throwback to those days.*  You have to pay attention to what's happening on the screen; you can't drop your eyes and expect the dialogue to carry you through, for there is no dialogue.  Practically the entire film is silent, with a few title cards and a very few spoken words. (And this film is an excellent example of the power of having just a few words as opposed to lengthy speech after lengthy speech.) The entrancing story of pride, love, ambition, and innovation will catch you at the very beginning and keep a tight hold on you.  The cast is marvelous and it's worth your time.  

I'm not advocating for a return to silent films, but this one works.  Give it a try.

*Yes, the magnificent Singin' in the Rain farmed this same ground, but in a very, very different way.  See that one, too.

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