Dog steals the show
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Running time: 100 minutes
It is spoken of as ‘the silent movie’. But that is not quite correct. It is predominantly silent, but there is a song, a few sound effects and a moment of speech right at the end of the film.
The plot concerns a suave silent movie star in the days of old Hollywood, played by Jean Dujardin, who resists the onset of the talkies only to find his life fall apart. It is a true melodrama, which charts his demise, as a young woman (played by Berenice Bejo), who only got into films by accident, rises as a celebrity as she embraces the new talking technology.
The film investigates the themes of change and communication, pertinent to today’s world, as we live amid the explosive growth of computer technology.
Living in a changing world
As the world around us changes, how will we react? The problem of communication, especially between male and female, emerges as a theme too. This is against the background of the failing star’s relationship with his extraordinary little dog, who seems to understand him completely and, for me, steals the show. But also, at the end, one was left wondering if, as the star finally speaks, the film also laments the sidelining of the French language and culture as English has come to dominate the world of entertainment as promoted by the new Hollywood.
The Artist has already won best film at the BAFTAs and also best picture and best actor at this year’s Oscars. Its themes remind us that in a changing world we have an unchanging God who understands us completely and has communicated with us in the most accessible way, through his Son, the Lord Jesus, and in his Word, the Scriptures.