Home Uncategorized Cannes: Silent Black & White Film “The Artist” Biggest Hit Yet

“The Artist,” a silent comedy shot in rich black and white, is the unexpected hit of the Cannes Film Festival. Michel Hazanvicius’s spectacular take on the transition from the silent film era to talkies is brilliant, fresh and altogether original. The film got a wildly rousing ten minute standing ovation at its premiere tonight. The cast includes American actors John Goodman, Penelope Ann Miller and Joel Murray. But the revelations are the lead actor and actress who are French, and a talented Jack Russell terrier. Watch for The Artist, distributed by Harvey Weinstein, to be a major part of the next awards season. And strangely enough it has — by chance — two elements to watch for that made it perfect for Weinstein to buy: a reference fo “Inglourious Basterds” and another to “The King’s Speech.” Talk about prescient. The film was shot by French filmmakers in Los Angeles, by the way. And the main actors–Berenice Bejo and Jean Dujardin–took six months of tap dance lessons to be in the film. Wait til you see them!

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
13 replies to this post
  1. I have been saying for a couple of years now that someone should do a good quality silent film and that if they did it would be a hit. It is sad really that this art form was lost and nearly forgotten about. When talkies came out there were predictions (obviously wrong) that they would never be accepted by the public. People loved silent films back then people who take the time to watch them (the old ones) now find them irresistable. Bravo, I might have to find this one and check it out.

  2. Great to see new artists using traditional methods of production. I’d love to see this in theaters, but, unfortunately, the public would never give it a chance. People won’t even sit through a dubbed foreign film if they suspected for even a moment that they may be forced to read subtitles.

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