I never quite thought I would be able to say “I saw that new black and white silent film last night – and LOVED it!” But last week I did just that. I saw The Artist at St George Open Air Cinema and would recommend it to all.
Originally I wasn’t that keen to see it, but one of my more ‘culturally in-the-know’ friends was going and I really wanted to see her. Plus, heading to the open air cinema is one of my favourite summery things to do in Sydney. So I purchased my ticket on a whim and went along for the ride. I was expecting something arty, perhaps I wasn’t going to understand it all and maybe I’d have a few questions afterwards. What I got was the total opposite. It was both a comedy and a love story that was easy to watch and left me and the rest of the audience in a good mood.
There’s something quite magical about seeing a movie at the open air cinema. With one of the best views in Sydney as a backdrop, a bottle of red and a nice (dry) night you can’t really go wrong. And The Artist delivered. It took the audience on a journey and had us laughing, content, anxious and even welling at the eyelids if you’re a softie like me.
It provides a great insight into the 1920’s film era and had me wishing I was born in this time. I truly believe no one, NO ONE, can look this good in a hat anymore…
The Artist reflects on the shift from traditional silent films to the introduction of “talkies”. At this time a number of extremely successful movie stars careers were ruined due to the sound of their voice. The Artist illustrates the power of sound, something we have come to take as a given in film. In one scene you begin to hear tiny everyday sounds as huge noises. In fact, the drop of a feather was so loud I got startled and accidently spilled my wine all over my friend. (Sorry Lisa, please send me the dry cleaning bill). This, in itself, reveals the impact of sound and its importance as part of our film experience.
Throughout the film you follow the character George Valentin (played by Jean Dujardin) through his reaction to the change. While his charm and swagger leave you rooting for him, his arrogance and pride may cause his demise. This is a film about a man and his relationships; his relationships with women, his dog, his ego and ultimately himself.
The Artist is enlightening, entertaining, and highly enjoyable. It provides insight into the time and plays out in a humorous and understated way. It is a refreshing tale of love and a pleasure to watch. Just maybe go for a pinot instead of the shiraz. That way if you too get startled at least it won’t stain.