William Boyd on Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist, which, coincidentally enough, my friend was talking about over lunch yesterday. [via The Telegraph]
The necessary simplicity of dialogue-free pantomiming, its openness of effect, is something we rarely experience these days, particularly over a period of time that the length of a movie offers. You are touched more easily and efficiently; your intellectual objection to melodrama disappears; questions of plausibility and naturalism become totally redundant because the realm of the black-and-white silent film is so mannered and artificial. The world is monochrome; we see people speaking but we can’t hear their words; crude dialogue captions appear that we have to read to explain the plot. As you watch this film you discover that, quite unconsciously, a different set of mental gears has been engaged in your head – you consume the film in a wholly different way and the experience is exhilarating.