Sunday, 18 March 2012
'The Artist'. 2011
I went to the Hornington Borough Hall and its informal cinema on Friday to see the The Artist. I thought it was huge fun: essentially a very basic rom-com dressed up in very classy and clever cinematography, beautiful design and intelligent evocation of an era, of the conventions and clichés of silent film, and the idea of moviemaking itself. It's a love-letter to silent cinema, and very effectively in its images and metaphors depicts it as a different mental world from ours, as indeed it was. It hymns the visual inventiveness of Silence with its own. However it's not the deepest piece of storytelling: the emotion soars and dips but characters don't develop, and the plot is barely worthy of the name, which is of course the chief disadvantage of Silence. Although I see many people have found it 'boring' I suspect this is less because there isn't a great deal going on but because they aren't used to putting in the work Silence forces on its audience, picking up cues and noticing symbols. In fact the film itself gets a bit lazy in this respect as it goes on, relying more and more on intertitles and less on hint, suggestion, and symbol. Nevertheless, you keep smiling as each trick and reference and sign arrives, and leave uplifted. It's very refreshing in an age of noise and bluster.