French cinema is like homemade cookies. At the beginning, it was new and creative and very good, then it got crappy because the ingredients got old and the machines rusty; but if, one day, you taste The good cookie, you might find the best you’ve ever eaten. Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist is certainly one of this kind.
In this movie, music is the talking character and lights are the sounds of life. Nothing is missing and, getting out of the theater, we wish some part of our lives would have nothing but music and lights. Doing a non-talking film today was already a challenge but managing to use this technique as a tool to tell the story, in spite of a goal to achieve, is what gives this movie a real importance in this year’s Cinema.
With a Singin’ in the rain plot, Michel Hazanavicius (OSS 117) gives Jean Dujardin an opportunity to show his talent as he never did before. Internationally recognized at the Cannes festival, the 39 years old actor gives here an A level interpretation, on top of the amazing challenge to entertain nearly two hours with no word or sound. Jean Dujardin revives a perfectly believable actor from the 1930’s but in truly modern acting. It’s not only a renewal of this past cinema but really a beautiful gaze on the early years of cinema with a work anchored in our generation. It’s an evocation, not a re-creation.
In less than a month, French movies aficionados will be holding their breath as the nominations for the 84th Academy Awards will be announced. As a matter of fact, this year, we are hoping to hit more than one category. With La Guerre est Déclarée already running for best movie in a foreign language, we are also competing for best movie with The Artist and Jean Dujardin for best actor. This would be a huge tribute to be able to even be nominated in the sacrosanct Best Movie category and underline the importance of France in today’s Cinema. A recognition that already has been made through the years with 39 nominations and 12 wins in the foreign language films section of the Academy Awards. Let’s hope they will appreciate the quality of this French cookie.