Saturday, August 27, 2011

Late Night Trailers: The Artist


It won a serious amount of Oscar buzz earlier this year at Cannes, and now we have a trailer for The Artist, a brand-new silent film by Michel Hazanavicius.  The story is a familiar one: major star meets movie extra, her career takes off.  While I have no doubt it's going to be a piece of black and white throwback glory, I must admit to not being completely sold by this little montage. To paraphrase Norma Desmond, in the silent era, they didn't need words, they had faces.  For me, what always made a silent film work was a combination of slight overaction and expressive eyes.  Maria Falconetti gave the ultimate silent performance in Passion of Joan of Arc, and you could read the pain on her face from a mile off looking at a single frame.  By comparison, this trailer features a lot of staring into the distance.  I'm sure the pieces will come together, but something about it doesn't feel right.  Too of the moment or deliberately gimmicky.  If you'd shown me this trailer out of context, I'm quite sure I would have thought it just another ambitious designer perfume ad...

2 comments:

  1. Haha, I think the reason why one would think this is just another perfume ad, is that were not used to see "things" like this as nowadays movies.
    I'm quite excited for it, though.

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  2. Honestly, for me it read that way simply because the faces of the actors appear temporally out of place. There's something about their features, their eyes, and the way they're enacting their silent movements that falls in line more with a contemporary fashion editorial than anything else.

    It will be an interesting sort of novelty for our current film landscape, but I really wish it had taken the format and applied it to something less conventional in appearance.

    I guess what I'm saying is: for a film playing so obviously with old Hollywood settings and the conventions of the backstage story, what I'm seeing in this initial glance strikes me as more aesthetic gimmick than anything else...

    We'll see!

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