It’s award season time and while The Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards are entertaining, the only one we really care about are the Academy Awards. Some people might have been surprised to see that “The Artist” won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it won the Oscar.
“The Artist,” a film by Michel Hazanavicius is a mostly silent film set in the 1920s. Sound slowly progresses into the film, a musical score always being present, and there are a few moments of noise such as a tap dance sequence.
Movies have always been about escape and entertainment for our society. “The Artist” is an escape. It is a silent film for a society that is anything but silent.
We’re perpetually in communication with each other and always connected, whether it’s in person, through cell phones, or through social media. Our lifestyle has become one of constant noise: noise of technology and constant communication. Even the film industry has adopted this lifestyle. Movies have become solely focused on special effects, 3D adaptability, turning a profit, and star power: the art is gone. People treasure a good fight scene more than a good storyline. We need an escape from big blockbuster films with no artistic merit. These films just add to our obsession with constant racket.
Amidst this constant noise, “The Artist” is a welcome escape into silence. I think the reason that the film has been so successful is for that very reason. We crave that silence and this film lets us find that quiet in a world where that’s so hard to come by.
The film also makes us appreciate some of the noises in our life that we might take for granted, by highlighting them when necessary. Sometimes, in our society, there is so much noise that we don’t hear anything at all. We have become nostalgic for films that mimic a cinematic time that emphasized quality over substance. We are nostalgic about it because we miss it. We miss the times where people weren’t constantly bombarded with life and, consequently, films that didn’t just try to one-up each other. Therefore, we embrace films that highlight a less hectic lifestyle, because we need to escape the one we have.