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“The Artist”: the artistry of wordlessness

French film director Michel Hazanavicius poses during the photocall of
French film director Michel Hazanavicius poses during the photocall of "The Artist" on December 5, 2011 in Rome.

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In a modern era inundated with multi-million dollar entertainment extravaganzas filled with 3-D special effects that were unimaginable a few decades ago, who would have guessed that a silent black and white film would be not only successful, but a critically acclaimed hit? Even the makers of “The Artist” probably could not have predicted how well-received the film would be, but nonetheless the picture has won over audiences and critics alike.

The film’s story begins in 1927 and focuses on the relationship between the silent film movie star George Valentin, played by Jean Dujardin, and young starlet Peppy Miller, played by Berenice Bejo. The movie illustrates the impact the addition of sound had on the previously silent movie-making industry and on Hollywood culture. At its core, “The Artist” is a good old-fashioned love story, but the film is also an homage to the silent era. The film is nominated for multiple Golden Globe Awards and is even likely to be nominated for a few Oscars.


How surprised are you that a silent black and white film has gained immense popularity in the age of “Avatar” and “Transformers”? What does the success of “The Artist” say about American audiences tastes?


Richard Middleton, executive producer, “The Artist”