27 December 2011

The Artist

Written & Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius
Full credits at IMDb

Talk about your escapist prestige seasons. Over the past few weeks, I haven't yet seen a 2012 Oscar contender set in the present day; I've hardly even seen one set in America. Scorsese chose to make a movie not only set far in the past, but also in Europe. The Europeans have also been focused on the past and on Europe, as in My Week with Marilyn, or the upcoming Iron Lady. France's The Artist is the apotheosis of this escapist trend: it's set in the 20s-30s, in Hollywood (escapist for French people), and it's not only black-and-white but silent—that's right, an honest-to-goodness silent movie, a sort of ode to the charm, physicality and romanticism of Chaplin. How much more distanced from unpleasant realities could you be? Though, the film more often references talkies of the 30s and 40s. It seemed more enamored of a different kind of Hollywood than the one it ostensibly celebrates; I saw a lot more direct "quotes" from Casablanca, Citizen Kane, The Broadway Melody of 1940 and, especially, The Thin Man than I did anything by Melies or Harold Lloyd.

Keep reading my conversation with Benjamin Sutton at The L Magazine

Watch the trailer:

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