New silent film brings back the best from the old

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Crystal Sanchez, Reporter

“The Artist” is an eye opening movie with great characters, costumes, music and messages.

The movie had an all-star cast that included Bérénice Bejo; Uggie, a dog; and Jean Dujardin, who recently won a SAG Award for Best Actor in a motion picture, and played George Valentin. George is a famous 1920s silent film actor who had to come to terms with the changing of silent films to talking ones.

Bejo played Dujardin’s love interest named Peppy Miller. Bejo’s character played an important role in the transformation of talking movies.

Both Dujardin and Bejo did an exceptional job at conveying the message of the movie through non-verbal communication.

Facial expression and body language played a huge role in this movie. And even Uggie, a Jack Russell terrier, got a leading role as Dujardin’s sidekick. Uggie impressed the moviegoers with a variety of tricks and supplied many laughs throughout the film. Dujardin, Bejo and Uggie all played very charming and likeable characters whom you could not help but love.

The costumes for the film were impeccably designed for the time period of the 1920s and 1930s. From top hats to cloche hats, every costume looked cohesive and made the movie better. Dujardin’s character exuded luxury whenever he was wearing three-piece suits, silk robes,or a top hat.

The character definitely reminded me of Rhett Butler because of the way he carried himself and dressed. Meanwhile Bejo’s character first appeared plainly dressed but then as the story progressed she started wearing sequin dresses and fur coats.

I especially loved the color contrast of the costumes because even though the film was shot in black and white, you still noticed the difference in color.

Seeing the fashion that was present during the 1920s and 30s in the film really made me feel as if I went back in time. Mark Bridges, costume designer for the film, really captured the theme of the movie and made it much more appealing.

My favorite thing about the movie was the music.

Ludovic Bource was the film’s music composer and he did a phenomenal job. In the opening scene, the music is very upbeat with its brass, string, woodwind and percussion sections to set the scene of a packed house movie theater. The lighter and funnier moments were accented with staccato-like wind and string section.

Action scenes were also brought to life with loud brass and percussion sections. The constant presence of music throughout the film greatly helped move the story line along.

I found that the music helped me better understand what was happening in the film. I knew when to laugh and when to stay silent. The music definitely made the movie one of a kind.

“The Artist” showcased the theme of change and the effects it could have on people.

Valentin, a once highly publicized silent film actor, began to experience the backlash of talking films.

He then adamantly refused to conform to the new style of film, he said in the film “if that’s the future, you can have it. I’m an artist, not a puppet.”

As talking films started becoming more popular, Valentin was left without a job and he had to sell all of his possessions. Then, after experiencing a series of tragedies, Valentin is helped by Miller in order to get back into acting.

Both Valentin and Miller emerged as a dancing duo performing in films, but never speaking. Valentin found the balance between staying the same and conforming to popularity. The message resonated true with me about how it is important to adapt, but not to give up everything that makes you special.