Silent film, a nearly extinct cinema genre, has been brought back to life to live out its final moments in the modern age. This art is the original form of cinema that first used the techniques of cinematography and acting to construct a base platform that made the film industry into the success it is today. The Artist is of the romance genre, as it tells the story of a silent film actor trying to survive the progressing technology with the film industry and the invention of the “Talkies” or films with dialog that can be heard and eventually finding his place in the end. In this film, lighting, soundtracks and character body language are utilized to communicate with the audience, that storytelling through silent films is still relevant today. There are two major scenes that act as examples for this claim.
Michel Hazanavicius, the director of the film, uses lighting techniques to give emphasis on emotions throughout the film. Even though no color exists within the film, contrast of black and white contributes to various aspects of emotion, as well. In the first scene, Peppy Miller can be seen sneaking into George Valentin’s dressing room. This scene utilizes a low key lighting with high contrast of lighting because of the artificial light emanating from George’s mirror. This style of lighting gives of a mysterious tone, in the sense that, Peppy Miller is in a place where she is not supposed to be. The lighting, also, gives off an intimate tone to the audience. This can mostly be seen when George and Peppy are staring intently into each other’s eyes in front of his mirror. The lights from the mirror put the two character at the center of attention, creating that intimate tone. ...
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... utterly of its time”, Hornaday). The Artist relates to film makers today because they need to adapt to the various audiences to stay in business. It is clear that Michel Hazanavicius utilizes lighting, sound and body language to demonstrate the classic way to tell a narrative is still relative in modern times.
The Artist is a modern film of older times when audible dialog was unavailable. Directors, at the time, required ingenuity to form ways to tell stories through cinema. They relied on lighting to set up the mood of the scene. Music assisted with directing the mood of the scene. Lastly, the actors had to show the mood of the scene in order to produce an effective and entertaining way to show a narrative. Hazanavicius demonstrates to the world that a dying art can still be modified to fit modern times and communicate an exceptional narrative.
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