I can’t remember when I last saw a new comedy-drama as good as The Artist (2011, dir. Michel Hazanavicius). In these troubled times, The Artist offers the viewer a sweet escape into a world of laughter, music, and tears. Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo are brilliant performers, and they look like the people they’re playing, actors from the 1920s and 30s. Everyone in the cast looks right: James Cutler and John Goodman in particular seem to be genuine time-travelers. (Contrast, say, Mad Men, in which everyone appears to be playing dress-up.) The film itself looks the part too, especially in outdoor scenes, which have the thin, watery light that suggests old. Three cheers for cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman.
Umberto Eco says that Casablanca is “the movies.” So too is The Artist. Go see the movies!
March 6: Type designer Mark Simonson writes about The Artist and typography: The Artist vs. The Lettering Artist. Thanks to Daughter Number Three for the link.
[“In these troubled times”: yes, that’s a cliché. We saw The Artist at east-central Illinois’s best theater, The Art Theater.]