‘The Artist’, a modern silent film debuts this year at Cannes Film Festival

The hugely charming-looking silent film ‘Louis‘, from 2010, kind of came and went and went, the general public, have never really had the chance to see it. Interestingly enough, 2011 is turning out another new silent film called ‘The Artist’. It is a French film , shot in Los Angeles, with quirky film-veteran John Goodman and L.A. Confidential’s James Cromwell and it stars Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, both French. Here is the synopsis:

Hollywood, 1927. George Valentine (Jean Dujardin) is a successful silent movie star. But the advent of talking movies plunges him into oblivion and makes a young extra named Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) into a huge star. This movie retraces their destinies, or how fame, pride and money can become obstacles to a love story.

It was literally a last-minute addition to the Cannes Film Festival and it’s truly been a dark horse in the race for the Palme d’Or, going from a list of out-of-competition movies to one of the most talked about films in the festival. Weinstein Co. are vying for rights to the film even before its May 15th Cannes debut. Hopefully all of this adds up to a US wide-release. It would be outstanding if the once considered ‘dead’ art form of silent pictures rose from its grave a

la Lon Cheney style and made a resurgence as a viable art form once again ~ 84 years since the talkies pushed their way into Hollywood and 75 year after the last widely considered ‘relevant’ silent film flickered on the big screen. What’s interesting to me is that, sure I’m certain the film is good, but part of what the buzz is about is the novelty of a silent film. A silent film is far from novel.

From the looks of the trailer, it looks stunning and powerful, with a killer score to match. Fingers crossed & prayers made that this film realizes it’s potential and doesn’t suffer the same fate that ‘Louis’ seems to have.


Google pays tribute to Charlie Chaplin

A clever search and a cleverly placed play button

I’m working on a post about silent film but I’m going to have to interrupt that post with another post about silent film. Google’s ever changing “google doodle” logo is paying tribute to Charlie Chaplin’s 122nd birthday with a short Chaplinesque silent film. His birthday is actually tomorrow so I’m a little confused as to why it showed up today but I digress. In place of the regular Google logo there is a small movie clip and the play button is cleverly paced right over the Chaplin-character’s tiny toothbrush mustache.

The movie itself is actually very cute though one thing is glaringly obvious: you can’t just add a b&w filter on your sped up footage and think you’re Charlie Chaplin. You don’t realize how very subtly good the likes of Chaplin, Buster & Harold were until you see someone trying to imitate them. The genius and the years spent honing their craft really shines through when held up against those who were merely inspired by them. The sheer genius of the masters is amazingly invisible on-screen, as well it should be. You notice it most when it’s not there.

It was a little bit on the spoofy side with all the clichés firmly in place but none the less I’m pleased to have YouTube and Google paying tribute to art forms of yesteryear. I have to point out ~~ that long-haired cop who bought the muffin for $2 must be mighty rich! With that price tag in 1923, he paid the equivalent of $26.14 for it! Iffy homework aside, well done Google!  Make more~! Buster Keaton’s 116th is coming up in a few months!

YouTube 1911

Forget last week’s kudos to Google for their vintage Houdini logo. YouTube’s done gone n’ one up’d em’.  In what I assume is in honor of April Fool’s Day, YouTube has a new logo (with a one day lifespan I’m sure) and has not so much revamped their site but revamped their videos.

First of all there’s this clever little video that shows what a few modern viral videos might’ve looked like had there been a YouTube 1911.

Now only that but each video has the option in the bottom right hand corner that allows you to watch it in 1911 style ~ jangly piano music, dust & scratches, with a nice sepia toned image.  Well done, YouTube!

My question now is…why 1911? Is it to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Colt 1911 ? But that would’ve been March 29th. Ah well. Whatever the case, I love it when the modern goes old-timey. Three cheers for YouTube.