Words by Manwah Siu
There was a certain charm to the silent movie art-form in its prime; a romantic pantomime of epic proportions. But, as we all know, the past is past, and the future is Avatar (or something). It’s strange, then, that French filmmaker Michael Hazanavicius looked backwards, and made an almost-entirely silent movie that is such a pleasure to watch.
The film presents the trials and tribulations of George Valentin, a fading silent movie star (played impeccably by Jean Dujardin and his strangely attractive pencil moustache), as he witnesses his friend and former fan Peppy Miller (a charming and beautiful Berenice Bejo) become Hollywood’s sweetheart of the talkies.
The film reaffirms everything that we know and love about cinema; wonderful set-pieces, physical comedy and magnificently nuanced characters who tug so firmly on the heart-strings. Oh, and an intelligent dog.
It’s not often we see such a classic and unashamedly joyous film. Some would say that it’s derivative, but the award nominations don’t tell a lie here, you will not be disappointed. It’s hard to find enough positive adjectives to describe it, but all that can be said is that if you’re to watch one film this year, it must be this one. An artful and resonant triumph.