Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Screenwriter: Michel Hazanavicius
Cinematographer: Guillaume Schiffman
Editor: Anne-Sophie Bion
Composer: Ludovic Bource
Cast: Bérénice Bejo, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller
Running Time: 100 minutes
It’s Hollywood 1927 and George Valentin, played exquisitely by Jean Dujardin, is a silent movie superstar, unaware that he is about to become a relic. The advent of the talkies will sound the death knell for his career and see him fall into oblivion. While still at the top, he meets young extra Peppy Miller, played by the lovely Bérénice Bejo. The sky is the limit for her career and major movie stardom awaits. The Artist tells the story of their interlinked destinies.
Dujardin, named Best Actor at Cannes this year, channels the spirit of lively Douglas Fairbanks in his engaging portrayal, while Bejo is captivating and fresh as Peppy. Austin 360 describes the film as “one of the warmest, uplifting, brilliantly conceived movies to play in [Cannes] in the past decade.”
Shooting without dialogue, in black and white and the long-abandoned squarish aspect ratio of 1:33, director Michel Hazanavicius pays homage to the golden era of silent film. The Artist was shot on studio stages as well as on old Hollywood streets, and the filmmakers took great care in expertly re-creating the energy and emotional appeal of late silent films. Audiences at Cannes, Venice and Toronto have responded ecstatically to the film’s wit, energy and charm.
Director Michel Hazanavicius is also a producer and screenwriter and is best known for his spy movie parodies OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies and OSS 117: Lost in Rio.