The Artist.

    Yesterday evening I saw The Artist, a movie by Michel Hazanavicus. I really wanted to go the cinema when it was released, but I couldn’t. Today I was finally able to see it. I didn’t know much about this movie. Just that it is a silent movie; that it won some Oscar awards; that the leading actor is French and his name is Jean Dujardin; that it was written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius. I didn’t know what to expect. I guess I was looking forward to seeing a romantic silent comedy. Well, I was wrong. Yes, it started like a comedy and yes, it is romantic, but, for me, it is much more than that.

    The story is about George Valentine, a famous actor of silent movies. He was funny and famous. He was a celebrity. Apparently he had everything: a career, a wife, a big house, money. But when the era of talking movies began, he lost everything and he was alone and lonely. Who would want an actor of silent movies when they could have young «talking» actors? He became a nobody. His last silent movie was a failure and he lost his enthusiasm and even his will to live. The only thing that kept him from killing himself was the love of Peppy Miller, the young actress who fell for him and took care of him, in spite of everything.

    I loved the performance of Jean Dujardin, who plays the role of George Valentine. At the beginning of the movie, he made me laugh a lot. But then, when things changed and he was miserable, I could really feel it. I was quite impressed by the nightmare he had in which he could hear the sounds of everything, the laughter but he couldn’t talk and he screamed but no sound came from his voice. I could feel his anguish. And then when the talking movies finally replaced the silent ones and he was completely lost… I could really feel his pain. It made me cry. For a moment I became George Valentine and felt completely lost. After that, I felt the cruelty of human beings, of the society we live in. How difficult it is to grow up and deal with the fact that what we do is obsolete, that we’re not needed anymore! So George Valentine was good for silent movies but he definitely wasn’t the talking type actor. And what worked for him, was not good for the others. Nobody recognized him anymore. Not only he was fired, but he was forgotten. It hurt me. How many times have I seen that happen? We live in a society in which indifference is quite common. We are only aware of what we need or what is important for us, but, what about the others? Of course not everything is bad, I mean, despite this, in this moments of darkness there is always a person willing to help us, willing to make this place a better world if we just allow her/him. In the movie Peppy is that extraordinary person. She doesn’t give up even though George is not willing to let her help him.

So, helplessness took over George. He sank in his misery and in his unwillingness to change. His love of life was slowly fading. He lost faith in himself and he definitely lost his dreams. It made me wonder. How many times have I felt like that? I mean, how many times have I felt like a total failure? Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes we fail and sometimes the circumstances are against us. We feel helpless. His misery reminded me of my own moments of helplessness in the past. When things change, when we fail, when we lose, when we are «replaced», we think we are helpless. It seems that all the doors are closed before us, and we stand outside, cold and lonely, hungry and dreamless. And then we have two choices: fight against the helplessness or let it embrace us. In order to fight it, we need to adapt to changes and find another way to achieve our dreams, to succeed. Otherwise, we will end up losing ourselves. George Valentine almost lost himself. He didn’t want to adapt to change, until, he accepted the help of Peppy Miller and gave himself the chance of trying something new. He didn’t lose his personality and he didn’t talk in movies but he danced and he was really good at it. So he embraced life again and had the opportunity to become successful again. He had to fight for his «happy ending» and so must we.

With this movie I laughed, I cried, and I embraced life. After a storm we need to stand up again and rebuild what’s left of ourselves, reinvent us, and keep on going. The show must go on and nothing like a smile to make things better. I loved the Artist and I’m looking forward to seeing more movies with Jean Dujardin and directed by Michel Hazanavicus.

~ por Naraluna en marzo 20, 2012.

4 respuestas to “The Artist.”

  1. One of the things we once treasured most in films is the human connection,;one of the reasons we enjoyed seeing films in a communal environment, to embrace that experience of shared humanity with others. Unfortunately, most films today are only concerned with digital artificiality. How nice that you were able to convey a brief glimmer of a return to what we once all went to the movies for.

    • Thank you very much for your comment, it makes me happy to know that there are people like me who expect more of a movie than just the digital effects and the technology. Thank you for your words. 🙂

  2. Esta película es doblemente anacrónica a propósito y eso la hace muy interesante: en la técnica (B/N y muda) y además, en la trama: la historia de un hombre contra el progreso, contra sí mismo, contra la maquinaria que usa a los hombres sin necesariamente comprenderlos.

    En mi opinión, eso hace que la película sea doblemente meritoria, ya que por un lado tenemos que las técnicas narrativas en el cine pueden ser vigentes si se tienen los recursos (gestos, historia, sentimientos!!) y por otro lado, rescata la trama del hombre que cae y se levanta, de una manera original y bien narrada (recordemos que Peppy llega al cine por la admiración que tiene por George).

    Una buena historia bien contada. Eso es el buen cine, creo yo y creo que tu punto de vista hace énfasis en un punto muy importante en la película: en la solidaridad. Claro, John Goodman hace el papel de un hombre de negocios, a quien le importa ganar por sobre (casi) todo y con todo y todo tiene una virtud: sabe reconocer el talento y el trabajo que va a hacer que el público se interese (le pasa 4 veces: con George, cuando le dice adiós, con Peppy y con el nuevo George).

    Muchas gracias por tu post, Naraluna.

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