Raise your hand if you thought The Artist would usher in a new era of silent, black-and-white movies.
OK, I didn’t, either. But I can’t say I wasn’t hoping. We need a little dose of the past to get us schlepping toward the future, and a retro attitude toward the cinema wouldn’t hurt. It certainly didn’t for M. Truffaut and other members of la Nouvelle Vague.
True, The Artist was a standout—not perfect, but clever and entertaining … like some of the best silent movies. The worst, however, are akin to any other lousy film: awful. Just because something’s silent doesn’t mean it’s good. Or vice versa.
Still, the film showed that the genre could be revitalized for a new audience, with a novelty value transcended by a smart script and direction. The question is, will a few more irises and wipes make for self-conscious cinema? They’d have to be incorporated organically to avoid affectation, and that’s a tall order. Skilled directors need apply.
I’d suggest starting a dialogue about this, but I think I need a title card.