What has not been expressed enough about The Artist, though, is that the film is not merely an exercise in nostalgia. Much like Woody Allen looks to the past for inspiration in Midnight in Paris, The Artist shows that film buffs should appreciate the classics, but also recognize silent film as a product of a bygone era. As The Artist demonstrates with the turn in George’s career, there is a danger in refusing to adapt to the times. The Artist is a joyful tribute to the movies, but it also hints that as films progressed from talkies to Technicolor, the medium evolved.
And film lived happily ever after.
|Jean Dujardin & Berenice Bejo in OSS 117: Le Caire - nid d'espions|
And if you really like the throwback to the oldies offered by The Artist, you should check out Michel Hazanavicius's OSS 117 films. (I especially like OSS 177: Cairo Nest of Spies.) Like The Artist, the OSS films follow the trend in which everything old is new again. They're like pastiches of spy flicks and romantic capers of the 60s and 70s: like From Russia with Love crossed with Charade. OSS: Cairo also stars the two leads of The Artist, Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo. It's weird to hear them talk, but they're almost more fun together in this than in the black-and-white Oscar-winner. It's worth seeing the two OSS films (the other is OSS 117: Rio ne repond plus) because one can appreciate that The Artist really is the work of a serious director following a pattern a style, technique, and meaning. Watching all three films might make a nice tribute to the late Andrew Sarris and the auteur theory he championed. The inevitable debate and joy of cinephilia that the three films inspire should fuel film clubs in years to come.
And really, who can pass up the chance to own a piece of Uggie on Blu-ray?