Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Sunday, 25 December 2011 00:00

'The Artist' Gloriously Brings Silent Film to Life

www.washingtonpost.com www.washingtonpost.com
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

  • Director: Michel Hazanavicius
  • Dates: Opens December 25, 2011

Impressively executed and immensely entertaining, The Artist charts the fading career of silent film star George Valentin juxtaposed with the rise of new discovery Peppy Miller. In a strong supporting role native St. Louisan John Goodman plays director Al Zimmer. This gorgeous black-and-white homage to silent film takes place in Hollywood from 1927 to 1931, the transition to talkies.

Technically, cast and crew masterfully present silent film lighting and performance styles with no ironic distance. Believing that early melodramas entertained and endured for their appealing humanity, French director Michel Hazanavicius hosted a silent film retrospective at Paris' Cinematèque for the principal actors as well as those in charge of the art direction, music design, costumes, and cinematography. Michel cites the important influence of directors King Vidor, F.W. Murnau, Fritz Lang, and Frank Borzage, among others. In other words, he studied and acknowledges the expertise of the best.

The stunning, black-and-white film was then shot on location in Los Angeles in many iconic places—original studio lots as well as some Chaplin locations. As a result of the cast's and crew's education in silent film and their enthusiastic embracing the melodrama, The Artist both celebrates and captures 1920s scenes and ambience from architecture to energy.

In this month's American Cinematographer, director of photography Guillaume Schiffman explains his lighting scheme with strong shadows for down-on-his-luck Valentin, sometimes his own stark shadow and at other times "a dark diagonal in the background" (p. 68-77) while Peppy "became more and more luminous." The staging also communicates their opposing trajectories with Valentin often positioned below Peppy on stairs, for example, as her fame rises and his falls. Hazanavicius was meticulous and skillful.

Jean Dujardin studied Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.'s roles for his pitch-perfect performance as Valentin, and Dujardin received the Best Actor award at this year's Cannes Film Festival. The Artist won the Best Foreign Narrative Feature at the St. Louis International Film Festival. It's at the top of my list for the best films of the year. For any true lover of film, The Artist is an exuberant, entertaining, and wholly exceptional delight. At select area cinemas.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Karate Bikini - A Simpler Sugar

Wed November 26
Karate Bikini is an eight piece ensemble who's members hail from St. Louis and the metro area. They are a large band with a large sound. Their latest album A Simpler Sugar is full of upbeat pop songs,…

Jah Orah and KD Assassin

Wed November 19

KDHX Recommends

December
Friday
05

Roscoe Mitchell and Craig Taborn

An internationally known musician, composer and innovator, Roscoe Mitchell began his distinguished career in the spirited 1960s of Chicago. NYC pianist and ECM recording artist, Craig Taborn, has remained a ubiquitous presence on the...


December
Thursday
11

KDHX Discovery Series: History of Psychedelia

The KDHX Discovery Series presents the "History of Psychedelia," with DJ valis. KDHX DJ, valis will take you on a multimedia journey through the annals of psychedelic musical history. The evening will feature a...


December
Sunday
14

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Celia's Yuletide Express Secular Holid...

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Celia's Yuletide Express Secular Holid... 88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Celia's Yuletide Express Secular Holiday Sing-along Sunday, December 14 at Noon. Tickets available online.  Toys, clothes, food and other gifts will be collected at the door for...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

8 users and 8481 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook