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Oh NOW It’s Playing Everywhere

The thing about living in a city where movies are released in first is, you have to wait for the rest of the nation to catch up. In the movie there are these AWESOME movie posters of "Peppy Miller" [Berenice Bejo] as she rises in stardom, it would be great if those were also marketed.

Most Lesbian Sites Go On and On about stuff that is of questionable artistic value [They must be getting paid to do so], Conversely I attempt to have a discerning eye and am reluctant to promote any old crap just because it has the word “Lesbian” or any of its derivatives attached to it.


This is my 2nd posting of this article because over the Holidays it may have been overlooked.
The Artist is EVERYTHING the Critics are Raving About AND A WHOLE LOT MORE.
Hands down and unequivocally The Artist is THE Movie of 2011 [And I have seen nearly every movie this year!].


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Yes a lesbian blog can sing the praises of a movie targeted to heterosexual audiences that embraces all of the qualities of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Unlike the sex and violence, or “hokey” dance movies that permeates nearly every visual medium we encounter the Artist was the opposite and was storytelling at its best.


There is NO audible dialogue in the movie and the imagemusic you hear is because during silent movies there used to be an orchestra that played in accompaniment with the movie. Any words that were spoken were displayed on black “Dialogue” cards.

The Artist succeeded in making me cry [That’s right I Cried!] Wanna Make Something Of it?
Movies are meant to manipulate your emotions, it is the intention of filmmakers to make you: Laugh, Cry, become Frightened, Angry or Sad. That was the challenge that Michael Havanicius faced directing The Artist: A modern day movie using elements not used in over 80 years to achieve and he succeeded. Silent films didn’t have synchronized recorded sound. Therefore without audible dialogue, feelings/emotions had to be transmitted through muted gestures, exaggerated pantomime and title cards.

Full Movie Synopsis [Warning: Spoilers included]












1927


George Valentin is at the Apex of his career as a silent movie star. In fact the movie begins with an audience watching one of his movies, George is behind the movie’s screen. He comes from backstage, thanks his dog co-star 1st much to the chagrin of his human co-star.
The next day while George is taking publicity shots an extra the: “Indomitable” Peppy Miller [Berenice Bejo] inadvertently stumbles into Valentine while trying to retrieve her purse that has fallen. Peppy is an aspiring actress who was used to create a “crowd.”

Later we see Peppy excited to see her photo on the front page of Variety, image while George’s wife is less than thrilled to see another woman kissing her husband on the cheek. George tries to laugh the incident off and does a trick with his dog, but the wife isn’t amused and leaves the room.
We see Peppy auditioning and winning a role as an extra in one of George’s movies, yet when they dance together for the scene their interaction with each other evolves from giggling outtakes to sparks between the two actors.


CUT! George’s attention is diverted and Peppy walks away feeling dejected.
She wanders into George’s dressing room where she slips her arm into one of the “arms’ of George's overcoat and canoodles with it. George walks in and sees her. Peppy is like so many fans who fall for the big movie star.

George approaches her, and this is where you would expect the big screen kiss.vlcsnap-2011-12-25-18h50m56s236 As they stare into each other’s eyes George says: “Every actress needs something special” and draws a beauty mark Peppy’s face.

Eventually Peppy signs on as a feature player with George’s studio, one day while she is with two male actor’s she sees George and they strike up a conversation and Peppy tells George that maybe they will make a movie together [Important Clue].

George ask her about the guys she's with and she tells him they are just “Toys” [?]. Before George leaves she writes down her phone number and hands it to him and does the Charleston. As George is walking away, Peppy whistles at him, when he turns around she blows him a kiss.

In time lapse see George watching Peppy’s movies: There is a montage of screen credits that appear at the end of every movie, and in this movie you notice that Peppy Miller’s name will eventually rise from being a walk on character to the top where she is the lead star.


1929 - Two Years Later


Mr. Zimmer [John Goodman] summons George to his office. He tells George that times are changing and that they are both of a different era, he announces the end of the production of silent films. Valentin is skeptical of this new thing called “Sound” and during “Sound” tests he laughs at the sight of actors speaking live.

Valentin insists that sound is just a fad. As Valentin leaves Zimmer's office, he tells the studio head that he will make his own movie. Valentin embarks on writing and producing his own silent film.

That Afternoon:

At an interview imagePeppy gives at a Hollywood restaurant, the reporters ask her how does it feel to be “America’s Darling” after such a short time. Miller chalks it up to the fact that she’s popular because people are fascinated that they can hear her, the old ways are over and it’s time to “Make room for the young.”


That’s when George, who was sitting at another table behind her [Having lunch with his chauffeur Clifton] stands, walks to Peppy and tells her that he’s “made room'” for her and leaves the restaurant.

George completes his film, a jungle adventure but it opens on October 24, the same day as Miller's new sound film, and barely anyone attends George’s movie opening, only a handful of audience members are in attendance and unbeknownst to Valentin so is Peppy Miller, who is sitting high above him in a balcony.


After the movie they encounter each other outside of the theater, and though Peppy seems a bit distant, you sense there’s more there than she’s revealing. As Valentin is walking home he comes across a long line of movie goers waiting to purchase tickets to Peppy’s movie.


George Valentin is ruined, he spent his money to make his own silent movie. To make matters worse the stock market crashes and his wife, Doris (Penelope Ann Miller), leaves him. Penniless he moves in with his valet, Clifton (James Cromwell).


Later, Valentin first pawns a tuxedo for $6.00 and after being reminded that he hasn’t paid his chauffeur if or a year then fires Clifton.


George successfully sells off all of his effects at an auction. Desperate and drunk, Valentin starts a fire in his office, the only thing he tries to save is a movie reel of when he and Peppy appeared in a scene dancing together and in what is truly an Oscar worthy animal scene his dog gets help running to a policeman, barking at the policeman and playing dead, jumping up and prompting the policeman to follow him where he saves Valentin.


Meanwhile at the movie studio Peppy sees a headline that Valentin survived a fire. She rushes to the hospital where she fights back tears as the doctor’s tell her that he will be fine but needs to rest, she asks the doctors if he can rest at her place, they tell her yes. When Valentin regains consciousness he sees that he is at Peppy’s home and that his former chauffer Clifton is now working for Miller.


vlcsnap-2011-12-27-02h36m31s172 Peppy spends time with a recovering George before she tells Valentin she has to go to the studio, she notices how that news saddened George, because there was a time when he was the big star.


While she’s gone George’s dog leads Valentin to a locked room, he unlocks the door imagewhere sheets are covering all of his effects, which were purchased by Peppy at the auction where he tried to sell everything! Peppy was always in the background trying to help George. She was assisted by George’s former chauffeur Clifton and was brought to tears that George was auctioning off his belongings. In fact after he purchases all of George’s belongings for Peppy, Clifton actually walks by George at the auction lowering his hat as not to be recognized.


When George discovers that Peppy purchased all of his effects he has a nervous breakdown, and returns to his burnt out office while Peppy is at the studio insisting that Valentin co-star in her next film, or she will quit Zimmer's company. “It’s either HIM [George] or ME! No, I mean it’s BOTH of Us or NEITHER of Us!”


 Miller discovers George is gone from her home and arrives at George’s office, panicked, Valentin was attempting suicide, she stops him.

 Peppy and George reconcile, and remembering that he is a superb dancer, she convinces Zimmer to let them make a musical together, they work on their dance routine, show it to Mr. Zimmer and Zimmer likes it! and the picture ends with the implication that Valentin will return to fame again. In the final shot, the sound finally comes in as the film starts rolling. Afterwards, Zimmer calls 'Cut! Perfect. Beautiful. Could you give me one more?'. Valentin, in his first audible line, replies in a clearly French accent, "With pleasure", revealing the reason he refused to speak on camera.

Then and NOW

Here’s the thing: Does George return to making movies? In the 1920 the U.S.  state was more racist than it was a French hating nation. I like to imagine that Valentin does indeed go on to make movies.

Why was The Artist such a "clean" movie? Well in the 1920s there was NO Sex in film. In fact there was barely any kissing. Sex was alluded to and really started being introduced by actress Mae West in the late 20’s and people still slept in twin beds in the 1950’s. Therefore there was no sex and very little sexual sexual innuendo in the 1920’s That’s what made The Artist so good, other than the characters being straight, there wasn’t any flaunting of heterosexuality.


There was no audible dialogue which was refreshing since most of today’s dialogue is pretty shitty. This is a movie for film buffs and those who appreciate great art.


Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would be sitting in a movie theater watching a film that looked like it was made 82 years earlier, and the audience wasn’t comprised of old people, but viewers who ages ranged from the 20’s to late 50’s and unlike the forced loud laughter you experience with modern day comedy, because The Artist is a silent movie there is no need to be all ignorant and loud with the laughter. Sure the audience laughed at the cute and funny scenes but it wasn’t over the top.


The Artist is Destined to win even more awards.

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