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Who needs words anyway?

January 31, 2012
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Last night I went to see The Artist.  I have to confess, I wasn’t expecting to like the film as much as I did.  I thought it was going to be too clever and arty, and that it would fly straight over my head.  It’s black and white.  It’s silent.  It’s a bit experimental.  Was it going to be relevant?

Absolutely!  This is the best thing I’ve seen this year. And considering how young the year is, it’s the best thing I saw last year as well.  It’s that good.

This review from The Guardian probably about sums it up for me:

“Advancing age and retreating inhibition now make me liable to cry at the movies. But this has to be the first time I have actually wept tears of joy. It is not high camp exaggeration. This happens every time I watch the last sequence[…] I have become one of a global legion of jabbering evangelists, and only the fear of causing a backlash deters us from going on about its artistry more.”

The film got me thinking about how important words are anyway.

It’s said so often that I can’t even find a reference for it, but supposedly two-thirds of all communication is non-verbal.

Certainly when I was watching The Artist I didn’t miss words.  It was only mildly irritating right at the beginning that I could see people’s lips moving, and couldn’t quite work out what was being said.

It actually just means that you can interpret what’s happening even more. The lady that I went to see it with and I were talking about it on the way home; we’d both noticed completely different things and read things completely different ways.

One of the things I hate most about films sometimes is constant exposition – in case you missed the point that they were trying to make the first time around. Spelling out what is happening, and not crediting the audience with the ability to follow and understand what is happening. It interrupts the story – it makes you realise that it is a story and not just stuff that you are watching happen.

It’s really hard to have that level of exposition without all the words though. Which means the explanation is up to you. It doesn’t make it more difficult to watch. It actually makes it easier in some ways.

So, my advice this weekend is give The Artist a go. It’s clever, it’s heart-warming, and brilliantly different. Good luck to it at the Oscars.

And Uggie the dog deserves a best supporting actor trophy himself.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 27, 2012 1:55 pm

    I need to watch it… along with the Muppets of course!

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