Artist is a 2011 French romantic comedy drama in the style of a black-and-white
silent film. It was written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius and stars
Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo.
story takes place in Hollywood, between 1927 and 1932, and focuses on
the relationship of an older silent film star and a rising young actress,
as silent cinema falls out of fashion and is replaced by the 'talkies'.
Artist received near-universal acclaim from critics and won many
accolades. Dujardin won the Best Actor Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival,
where the film premiered. The film was nominated for six Golden Globes,
the most of any 2011 film, and won three: Best Motion Picture –
Musical or Comedy, Best Original Score, and Best Actor – Motion
Picture Musical or Comedy for Dujardin.
January 2012, the film was nominated for twelve BAFTAs, also the most
of any film from 2011. It won seven, the most wins of the night, including
Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Hazanavicius,
and Best Actor for Dujardin.
Artist was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won five, including
Best Picture, Best Director for Hazanavicius, and Best Actor for Dujardin,
who was the first French actor ever to win. It was the first French film
ever to win Best Picture, the first mainly silent film to win since 1927's
Wings (the first recipient of the Best Picture Award, in 1929),
the first film presented in the 4:3 aspect ratio to win since 1955's Marty,
the first black-and-white film to win since 1993's Schindler's List,
and the first non-R-rated film to win since 2004's Million Dollar
France, it was nominated for ten César Awards, winning six, including
Best Film, Best Director for Hazanavicius and Best Actress for Bejo. The
Artist became the most awarded French film in history.
Director Michel Hazanavicius had been considering making a silent
film for many years, both because many filmmakers he admires emerged
in the silent era, and because of the image-driven nature of the
to Hazanavicius, his wish to make a silent film was at first not
taken seriously, but after the financial success of his spy-film
pastiches OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies and OSS 117:
Lost in Rio, producers started to express interest.
forming of the film's narrative started with Hazanavicius' desire
to work again with actors Jean Dujardin and Bérénice
Bejo, Hazanivicius's wife, who had starred in OSS 117: Cairo,
Nest of Spies. Hazanavicius chose the form of the melodrama,
mostly because he thought many of the films from the silent era
which have aged best are melodramas. He undertook extensive research
about 1920s Hollywood, and studied silent films to find the right
techniques to make the story comprehensible without having to use
too many intertitles. The screenplay took four months to write.
Artist was filmed in thirty-five days, made in the 1.33:1 screen
ratio commonly used in the silent film era. Though presented in
black-and-white, it was shot in color by cinematographer Guillaume
Schiffman. All the technical details, including lenses, lighting
and camera moves, were calibrated to get the look just right.
recreate the slightly speeded-up look of 1920s silent films, the
film was shot at a slightly lower frame rate of 22 fps as opposed
to the standard 24 fps. Most of the film is silent, except for two
scenes of sound; one being a nightmare sequence and the other being
the final scene in the film, where two characters speak, and the
non-diegetic soundtrack. Throughout the shoot, Hazanavicius played
music from classic Hollywood films while the actors performed.
film was produced by La Petite Reine and ARP Sélection for
13.47 million euro, including co-production support from Studio
37 and France 3 Cinéma, and pre-sales investment from Canal+
and CinéCinéma. The cast and the crew included both
French and American members.
costume designer Mark Bridges created the wardrobe for the film's
film's music was composed by Ludovic Bource and produced in Belgium.
It was recorded by Brussels Philharmonic and conducted by Ernst
Van Tiel. Recording took place during six days in April 2011 at
Flagey's Studio 4 in Brussels.
film's climactic scene is set to Bernard Herrmann's 'Scene D'Amour'
from his score to Alfred Hitchcock's film Vertigo, in which
it similarly accompanies an extended scene without dialogue. Only
one song (sung, with lyrics) is used in the soundtrack, 'Pennies
from Heaven', sung by Rose 'Chi-Chi' Murphy (uncredited). This song
was written in 1936, although the film is set between 1927 and 1932.
soundtrack was released on 21 October 2011 through Sony Classical
Jean Dujardin as George Valentin
Bérénice Bejo as Peppy Miller
Uggie as Jack (the dog)
John Goodman as Al Zimmer
James Cromwell as Clifton
Missi Pyle as Constance
Penelope Ann Miller as Doris Valentin
Malcolm McDowell as The Butler
Bitsie Tulloch as Norma
Beth Grant as Peppy's maid
Ed Lauter as Peppy's first chauffeur
Jen Lilley as Onlooker
Nina Siemaszko as Admiring woman
Jewel Shepard as Flapper starlet
Basil Hoffman as Auctioneer
Ben Kurland as Casting assistant
Ken Davitian as Pawnbroker
Matt Skollar as Peppy's assistant