As an antidote to all the stress of last week, we went to see The Artist, the French film which is now starting to win all kinds of awards. I had read of its producer’s difficulties in persuading people to back his eccentric idea of making a silent, black-and-white movie. Thank goodness he persisted and was successful, because this is a delightful film – understated, delicate, sweet, clever and funny. The recreation of the era of silent movies has been done with wonderful skill, updating some of its conventions just enough so that they seem natural and don’t jar today’s audiences with outdated stiffness of manner. Its stars, Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo, have two of the nicest smiles I’ve seen. We cried at the ending of the story.
I felt some kind of vicarious pleasure in the success of the film precisely because it is such an unlikely one to do well in today’s climate of in-your-face, crank-up-the-volume movies. It left me with the happy feeling that if you follow your instinct and insist on doing what you believe in, you’ll be sure eventually to find people who appreciate your work – lots of them, in the case of The Artist.