I hadn't read much about The Artist before I went to see it, only the fact that it is meant to be the best film of 2011 (which did confuse me at first until someone pointed out that its release date in the states would have been in 2011 in time for the nominations) and of course the fact that it is a silent film. So I didn't quite know what to expect from the storyline, only that I was sure to enjoy it. I won't spoil too much, but I do have to share the little touches which made me smile.
As the trailers finish, the film shrinks down from widescreen and starts in 1.33:1 ratio. The camera is out in the 1920's audience who are also watching a silent film in 1.33:1. It then pans behind the projection screen where the actors are watching it, waiting to see how the audience reacts.
The audience is not only invited to be part of watching the film, but we can also imagine what it was like to be part of the creative process in making one of these classics. Steve Ross aptly describes this as 'retrovision' in The Guardian this weekend, a type of 'brand-new vintage' which is 'not only just getting the period details right onscreen, but getting the whole mode of presentation correct too'. Interesting fact here for you as well, the film was actually shot in colour and the sets were lit just right so the footage would translate into what would look like an authentic silent film.
The storyline is about a narcissistic actor, George Valentin and the up and coming Peppy Miller who is on a mission to become a HOLLYWOODLAND star, and what happens to them during the late 1920 emergence of talkie films. It is at times really heart wrenching, especially when the George's Jack Russell is in a scene prompting debates about whether the dogtor (dog actor?) Uggie could win an Oscar.
I would definitely recommend The Artist and if you end up catching the silent film bug like me, there is still chance to catch the Silent Film Season where we are showing some of the genre's classics. Safety Last will be shown on the 15 January, The General on the 22January and the season closes with Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans on the 29 January. All the films are at 4.30pm and as well as booking tickets online, you can visit the Box Office or call 0871 902 5737.
You can buy tickets for The Artist, online, in person at the Box Office, or by calling 0871 902 5737.