Michel Hazanavicius‘ The Artist pays homage to 1920s silent films and the advent of sound technology in both a classical and fresh approach. A lengthy and more detailed synopsis as follows (via TIFF):
“A love letter to 1920s Hollywood, Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist resurrects silent cinema as a powerful and complex storytelling medium. Shot entirely in black and white, without dialogue and in a traditional 1.33 aspect ratio, the film remains faithful to the period it represents, avoiding the trap of pastiche through a sincere appreciation of the cinematic possibilities offered by classic silent film.
Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, whose matinee-idol good looks and arrogant but good-natured charm evoke Douglas Fairbanks at his best. George is at the height of his career in 1927 when The Artist begins. While working the premiere of his new film, he accidentally bumps into a beautiful unknown, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), and the ensuing photo op sets her on the path to unexpected fame.
George, however, quickly finds himself on the opposite track, as sound begins to dominate the screens. Refusing to accept this modern innovation, he finances his own silent feature in 1929 and loses it all. His wife leaves him and his fans forget him. Broken and alone, George fades into the shadows of old Hollywood.
At the same time, new It-girl Peppy finds herself at the forefront of the sound phenomenon. As her star status rises, she never forgets the man who gave her the start she needed; she resolves to help George in any way she can.
The Artist tells a familiar story, reminiscent of classics like Sunset Boulevard and A Star is Born, but Hazanavicius and cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman breathe new life into an old tale. Their skillful handling of a style that could easily have turned into camp enables for a newfound appreciation not only for silent cinema, but also for melodrama and the intense emotional effects the genre can deliver. Above all, The Artist offers a joyous look back to a golden age, and will leave audiences nostalgic for a cinematic form that, as Hazanavicius proves, hasn’t lost its resonance.”
The trailer can be viewed down below: