A silent movie in black & white shot in Los Angeles by a French film company with an international cast was the choice as best picture at the St. Louis International Film Festival.
Set in Hollywood in 1927, “The Artist” is a very compelling story of love and the inability to adapt to change. French actor Jean Dujardin plays a silent film headliner whose career and marriage are destroyed when his character refuses to believe that talking films are the future. Dujardin won the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival for his work in “The Artist.”
Berenice Bejo plays Peppy Miller, a beautiful young actress and dancer who bumps into (literally)Dujardin’s character when he’s making a personal appearance at a theater after the premiere of one of his films. The chance encounter leads to a fast rise to stardom for Bejo’s character, and an equally rapid demise of Dujardin’s career as he refuses to make the leap to talking films.
John Goodman is a scene-stealer as a studio head. Both he and Dujardin may have Oscar nominations for their work in “The Artist.” Other actors known to American audiences in this film include Malcolm McDowell, James Cromwell and Penelope Ann Miller.
“The Artist” is a motion picture full of the essence of brilliant film making and acting. It is an intense, tender love story without crudeness. It is full of surprises. It has an almost haunting musical score. In this era of giant screens, special effects and 3D, “The Artist” is a return to authentic and heartfelt movie making.
This is a movie you don’t want to miss. It may just be a big winner at Oscar time, and deservedly so. And it’s at the top of my list of best films in 2011.
“The Artist” is currently in an exclusive engagement at The Plaza Frontenac Theater.