Yesterday, Mum and I went to see The Artist at DCA and I have to say, it was brilliant! I did fancy seeing it, but I don’t know that I would have actually gone to the movies if Mum hadn’t insisted on going. I’m so glad she did, because I thoroughly enjoyed it; the story, the cast, the cinematography, they had obviously been so well considered because the film was seamless and totally clear.
Of course, I loved seeing all the costumes and fashions of the late Twenties (I love that it was an era of dressing up; even at the breakfast table, the men wore smart pyjama suits with silk “coats”, while women wore long, silk slips teamed with immaculate hair) but my favourite screen shot would have to be more film orientated (my film studies always kicks in!).
So, I loved most the scene where the lead male and female actors stop and talk on the stairs in the film studio building: the camera moves back from the shot so that you can see all three flights of stairs from a side angle. You watch people hurrying up and down the stairs like ants running around carrying out important business, while the stairwell brought the centre shot completely into focus. It was perfectly framed and the shot lasted long enough to really enjoy the movement and take in how impressive the industrial style staircase was, without time dragging on to make you lose interest.
The film is (mostly) silent, and shot in black and white. The cast were fantastic (including Uggie, the canine star of the show!) and commanded the attention of the audience and they told the story easily – despite only “mugging” at the camera!
Peppy Miller was played by Berenice Bejo and she was just excellent. Bejo completely embodied Miller’s fun spirit that was evident from the start of the film: her dancing, her over acting, her cheeky smile and her kind heart were all rolled into a flirty, playful persona who also happens to be gorgeous.
If you haven’t seen it, or aren’t even planning to see it – go! It’s worth seeing on the big screen. I’d recommend going to an evening show before a fancy dinner. Dress up to the nines – the film is set in such a glamorous era and the glamour is infectious: so put your glad rags on and hit the town!
Berenice Bejo, who plays Peppy Miller in The Artist.
Image courtesy of Ian Gavan/Getty Images, with thanks.