It's Oscar month! Every year, Alberto and I try to see all the nominees for Best Picture by Oscar night. And there are alot this year: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, The Help, Moneyball, War Horse, and The Tree of Life.
|Go see the movie The Artist|
During the year we saw Midnight In Paris and The Help, and yesterday we had a little afternoon delight and stole away too see The Artist. Alberto did not understand why anyone would want to see a silent film (filmed in black and white no less), but I convinced him he would not be disappointed. I had been following the buzz about this film, and it did very well at The Golden Globes a couple of weeks ago.
|The Artist wins big at the 2012 Golden Globes|
As a young person, I worked in an entry level job at The Museum of Modern Art in the Film Department (now called the Film and Media Dept.). It was my first encounter with silent movies. I didn't LOVE them at first. But as time passed and I was educated under the tutelage of curator Mary Corliss (her husband Richard Corliss is now the film critic for Time Magazine), and the entire Film Dept. staff at MOMA. As a result the genre became dear to me. It was amazing to have great silent film stars like Lillian Gish and Greta Garbo, who were still alive then, sometimes visit the Film Dept.
The Artist is an incredible combination of today's technology juxtaposed with what was then the incredible technology of the early movie making era of the silent film. It is hardly silent, with the evocative acting, the excellent camera work, the fantastic sets and costumes, and extraordinary music scored expertly for this film.
The Artist is a masterful study in black and white, sure to inspire all you visual vamps. The sets are fabulous and Oscar worthy. The costumes equally so.
Homage is paid to so many familiar cinematic touchstones. You will be reminded of Singing In The Rain, the real life story of Greta Garbo and John Gilbert, Sunset Blvd., any 42nd Street style movie musical, A Star Is Born, and the great Astaire Rogers films of the 1930's. Add to that an adorable terrier that reminds one of all the great Hollywood dogs, especially Asta from the Thin Man series.
|Singing In The Rain|
|Greta Garbo and John Gilbert, great silent film stars and lovers, with director Clarence Brown - Garbo talked, and Gilbert tanked when sound came to the movies|
|Gloria Swanson, a super star of silent movies, in Sunset Blvd. in 1950|
|Janet Gaynor in A Star Is Born (the 1937 version)|
|Ginger Rogers in dark shorts in the movie 42nd Street, and in feathers with Fred Astaire|
|Asta with his co-stars Myrna Loy and William Powell|
Everyone in the theater the afternoon we saw The Artist looked like they were in their 100's, perhaps old enough to have gone to silent movies in their heyday. Alberto and I felt like we were the youngsters in the crowd, even though it was 100 years ago when I worked at MOMA.
So if you are a movie lover, go see The Artist. I think it will win quite a few Oscars. We plan to see The Descendants next. I could pass on the 911 movie (Incredibly Close...). I want to see Hugo because our set designer friend Helen Britten said it is a marvel. We wanted to see Moneyball when it came out, so I hope they put it on the big screen again for Oscar season. War Horse should be interesting, and the tour de force of the genius Terrence Malick, The Tree Of Life, will be a challenge, but I am sure worthwhile.
Do yourself a favor and get out to the movies. See a film on the big screen with a group of people you don't know, who by the end of a good film, become less than strangers by sharing that warm and fuzzy and uplifting feeling that blankets everyone in the audience.
And if you haven't seen the films in the images above, do yourself a favor and find them on DVD, or on Turner Classic Movies, or at an art house showing classic films in your city.
And please do tell us what you think of the movies you see!!!
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