While the new world of Hollywood is filled with special effects, violence and sometimes limited storylines, multiple Academy Award nominee The Artist is a perfect example of how to engage an audience the old fashioned way.
Filmed in black and white and with no dialogue, The Artist proves that with a good story you don't need complicated technology and complex plotlines to create a winner.
Originally I was skeptical at the prospect of seeing a silent film. I'm a fan of Chaplin, but wasn't sure whether "old world" techniques would appeal to a modern day audience. My skepticism quickly faded during the first 15 minutes of the film. Set in Hollywood in the 1920's, The Artist is the story of silent film star George Valentin and his concerns that the arrival of the "talkies" would ruin his career. There's also a subplot surrounding young dancer Peppy Miller and how their worlds eventually end up colliding.
In a nutshell, The Artist proves that what's old can be new again.
So what makes The Artist an example of timely, effective and engaging storytelling?
- The story delves into a universal theme that's as relevant in 1920's Hollywood as it is today - fears held by the older generation that their relevence and skills will be outpaced as technology continues to evolve and younger players take over
- There's a huge emotional connection to the audience. Although the movie is silent, the audience is transported into the story through cinematography, the looks and actions of the actors and the music. Classic storytelling. At some points in the movie, there wasn't a dry eye in the house
- The movie made you laugh. Thanks in part to canine star "Uggie", the movie was highly comedic. Comedy vs. tragedy - universal themes in storytelling that have the effect of playing with the audience in an effort to entertain and inspire
- The movie was filmed in black and white. This added a magical and mysterious element to the story that transcended any other method of modern day filmmaking
The Artist received 10 Academy Award nominations next to Martin Scorsese's highly acclaimed Hugo (11 noms). While worldwide audiences will have to wait until the Academy Awards show on February 26, in my mind The Artist is already a winner and shining example of how lack of dialogue combined with music, incredible acting, universal storytelling and award winning cinematography can win both critial acclaim as well as the hearts and minds of global audiences.
Do you think The Artist is a great example of engaging storytelling? Why? If not, why not?