The Artist (2011)
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Writer: Michel Hazanavicius
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo and John Goodman
With all its acclaim I couldn’t help feel like it was a rehashing of the Singin’ In The Rain story, but instead of being told from a musical perspective, it was told from the perspective of the one that couldn’t easily transport from silent to sound cinema. The similarities between Singin’ In The Rain and The Artist stop at the point where they are telling the same story – the movement from silent to sound cinema – and the end that they come to – if you want to continue, just dance! – however The Artist is much more a film for our times as it addresses a much darker subject of what to do when you lose what defines everything about who you are. I saw this film twice in the cinemas, because 2 different friends wanted to see it with me not because I loved it that much, and it was interesting to hear the reception each time. The audiences response to whether they thought it was meant to be funny or not and the fact that people were unwilling to talk during the film even though it was a film without much sound intrigued me. (Side note: I can’t call it a silent film, because, let’s be real here, there was sound, there just wasn’t much talking, and many films have done a similar thing but just not as intentionally obvious as The Artist.)
If you look at the depiction of the audiences in The Artist you can them reacting to what they see on the screen, either laughing, crying, rejoicing, rejecting, whatever the reaction, it was very much there and evident for the rest of the people watching to see. However, modern day audiences sit in silence, are shushed when they make a sound, and barely react unless to laugh or scream at what is on the screen. I often feel I get to the end of a film and want to applaud (knowing full well those who made it are probably not sitting in the audience with me) but it’s my reaction to what my senses have just beheld. I sometime wish I was back in the days of silent film where the audience was raucous and involved with the film. I understand why The Artist got such high praise, and I understand why audiences both flocked to see it and stayed away, but in my opinion I would much rather watch Singin’ In The Rain, it has much more of a hopeful tone whereas The Artist brings the reality of our current times back into the lime light. We are a world full of depressed, suicidal, umemployed people that have been thrust out of work because of the progression of technology. And just like the protagonist in The Artist, unless we have people around us to pull us out of this state and show us how we can take our skills are transport them into this new era, many may end up without hope.