by Allison Leu

Film today reflects today’s world, one that is constantly looking forward, making improvements and advancements. The big blockbusters in Hollywood typically fall under the category of big budget action franchises that utilize all the latest technology. Just look at the 3D craze of recent years.  I won’t say I wasn’t sitting in that theatre for M-I 4: Ghost Protocol or Captain America. Those CGI-laden, explosion-filled movies are perfect for the big screen. But when Michel Hazanavicius’s “The Artist” arrived on the scene it was a breath of fresh air. I was pleasantly surprised at its success with both the public and the critics. Silent film doesn’t usually haul in a big crowd. The Artist seems to show that the public is looking for something new, something different.

As an homage to the Hollywood of the past, “The Artist” returns to where film began: silent film. But it doesn’t simply recreate the style of past silent films. One of my favorite scenes displays the movie’s innovative approach to the transition of silent film to “talkies.” Jean Dujardin’s character dreams that his world transforms into one with sound and he is the only one who cannot be heard.  Michel Hazanavicius brilliantly turns something old into something new, and now his film has walked away as the star of the Academy Awards.

Independent filmmakers can rejoice at the success of “The Artist.” It just goes to show that daring to be different pays off in the end.

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