The Artist


STARRING: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo

Flirting with fame: Dujardin and Bejo

In 1927, motion pictures are filmed in black-and-white and screened with live orchestras to enthralled and glamorous crowds. Hollywood is still known as Hollywoodland and George Valentin (Dujardin) is a gen-u-ine, Clark Gable–style silent movie star. Peppy Miller (Bejo), on the other hand, is just an ingénue but her flirty ways cause quite a splash when she encounters George at a premiere…


Shooting in classic-chic black-and-white with an orchestral soundtrack and cursive subtitles to set the mood, writer-director Michel Hazanavicius brings a whimsical, modern spin to a scenario as old as showbiz itself: by 1929, George is washed up on the influx of the talkies, and Peppy — by name and unsinkable nature — is the toast of the town. Combine that reversal of fortune with the Great Depression and George’s wife leaving him, and George is in a pitiable place eloquently and wordlessly conveyed by the debonair Dujardin. He has a long way to fall but with protective Peppy watching over him, he also has everything to regain. For what is an Old Hollywood love story without a fabulous, light-footed finale?