“George, we have to talk now“
What can I say about this marvelous movie?
Silent movie star George Valentin is the most popular actor in the silent cinema age. Everyone loves him, and every movie starring him is a box office success. But the year is 1927, the silent-cinema age is about to end. Valentin is too egocentric and stubborn to see/ recognise the upcoming future in talking films. Like a Don Quixotte he tries tofight it, a battle against windmills.
In 1929 the stock market crashes, and Valentin ends up on the street. Only his loyal servant Clifton (James Cromwell) and Valentin’s newcomer Pepi Miller stand by him. But what is a fallen silent star from a lost age worth in the age of talking pictiures?
“Why do you refuse to talk?”
At 11 am tody, I went to the cinema to see this film, due to the Viennale. To be honest, I had forgotten which movie I was going to see, but right before the cinema I remembered. And I was glad to see this movie, for for me, it is one of the greatest movies ever made. It’s an hommage to the silent movie age, and as that, it itself is a silent movie (or something like that). There is recorded orchastrated music throughout the movie, which supports the plot and actions, and when the actors speak, the audience can read intertitles.
There is a sequence where there is actual sound, and the fourth wall gets broken (or rather bended). In the course of the movie, you tned to forget that it’s a silent movie, because the emotions and the music wark together that strong, that you don’t mind this fact.
The movie is full of symbolism, some more subtle, some less. There is this scene where Valintin’s wife wants to talk to her husband, but he refuses, on which she responds “Why do you refuse to talk?“, a double meaning for at that time he refuses working on talking pictures.
The movie does have everything a movie should have: humor, drama (many scenes made me almost cry), thrill (at the showdown in the end) and a little horror (well, that depends on your perspective when Valentin finds out, that Pepi has bought his stuff…all of it. Kinda creepy, isn’t it? )
The Artist is a wonderful movie, that should be seen by as many as possible. everyone who loves cinema is going to be addicted to it. And I dare say that it’s also a hot choice for next year’s Academy Awards…