This month the Movie Club will be screening 'The Artist'. A 2011 film made in the style of the silent-era: black-and-white and no talking (in this case, minimal talking). The film traverses many genres – comedy, romance, tragedy and melodrama – to form a coherent story of George Valentin.
George is at the top of his game as a silent film actor, he is famous and in-demand. He meets Peppy at a film premiere, and again later when she begins working as a film extra. There is chemistry between the two and Peppy continues to get work as an actor. When talking movies become popular, George refuses to perform in them, insisting silent film is an art form unlike the ‘talkies’. As a consequence of this George loses his career, wife and money, while Peppy becomes a star of the new talking films.
The film is entertaining from the start, with a tight opening scene of a ‘film-within-a-film’, to George and Peppy shooting a dance sequence over and over while slowly and beautifully realising they are falling in love, to George firing his chauffeur because he hasn’t paid him in a year.
There is no need for talking in this film, the actions speak clearly for themselves, and they are beautiful. It is clear the film is a ‘love letter to cinema’, as director Michel Hazanavicius intended.
'The Artist' will be showing on Wednesday 12 April, 6pm sharp at Narellan Library. Tea, coffee and biscuits provided, BYO snacks are more than welcome. Stay after the screening for a short discussion about the film. See the discussion questions to get some ideas.