One of the most talked-about movies at Cannes barely said a word: The Artist is a meticulously crafted throwback to the silent-film era right down to its rich black-and-white and its 1.33:1 ratio—a fitting setting for the story of a Douglas Fairbanks-like king of Old Hollywood whose fortunes falter at the advent of talkies, around the same time the young ingénue he falls for becomes a star. Directed by Michel Hazanavicius, with his OSS 117 collaborator Jean Dujardin (who took home best actor at Cannes) carrying most of the pathos of the film on the subtle lifts and downturns of his mustache, The Artist is currently on a lot of short-lists for this year’s Oscar race. It’s easy to see why from this trailer. For one thing, its composition and period detail are impeccable, while Dujardin manages to create the impression of a well-rounded character arc in just over two minutes—and again, all without saying a word. (It’s also a movie about the art of making movies, and people who make movies tend to love those.) And for anyone who may sniff that this all seems like some kind of arthouse-y Frenchy mime thing, John Goodman and James Cromwell drop by to provide a warm, familiar handshake.
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