There was a point in my teenage years when I found myself enthralled by the allure of black and white. I remember watching a film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers called Follow the Fleet, which was just so… so… magical in a way that I found myself wanting to watch more. Since then, I haven’t paid much interest to black and white films until the emergence of The Artist, a movie that not just remove color from the modern-day motion picture, but dialogue as well.
Yet it seemed so much odds were stacked against this film, besides the lack of the conventional characteristics of color and dialogue. The film’s lead is a relatively new face to American film, a French actor by the name of Jean Dujardin. His co-star is just as unknown, yet her name is quite pretty: Berenice Bejo. There are some recognizable faces in the film like John Goodman and Missi Pyle, but that’s about it. And instead of making this film fade into obscurity, it stood out for being different on so many levels. We see these newcomers and known faces excel at their craft because of the absence of dialogue, and they are forced to convey emotion with their facial expressions and body movements, something Dujardin seems quite adept in, thus making his Best Actor win well-received indeed.
Overall, the Artist is more than just a charming film, as the movie conveys a unique depth beyond what dialogue offers in talkie films. It’s what made the talkies of the day so classic and so memorable that makes the Artist really bring to life the nostalgia desired by Gil Pender in Midnight in Paris, and I believe that’s why the film was well-received and reaped a number of awards at this year’s Oscars.