The Artist (2011) the ‘silent’ movie: make peace with the talkies?

I finally watched this movie, by invitation from a friend, though I have actually bought the DVD, plus I have already known the plot summary. But then my friend said watching it in the cinema would obviously be different. I suppose so. As it’s a silent movie, music and sound effect would play bigger role than usual.

But Peppy, the rising star of the talkies, the actress whom the audience can hear, thinks that the difference between the silent movie and sound movie is not the sound, but rather the ‘mugging’, as the actor in the former tries hard to be understood. perhaps like pantomime. but of course, not as exaggerated as the German expressionist movie Nosferatu (1922).

Seeing this movie, when you don’t have to hear all the conversations, relaxes you. Unless you’re trying to read lips. But the texts are most often enough. You don’t have to hear what Peppy’s boyfriend says when they are watching George Valentin’s debut as actor-cum-director-cum-producer, Tears of Love. But things are sometimes better left un-texted, like what the police officers says to George. Censorship on humiliation. And sometimes, the text can even fool you, like the signified of ‘Bang!!’ is not always the fire of a gun. 

Actually, if you have watched Singin in the Rain, you would have known that the talkies’ way to success was not as smooth as Peppy’s career…

Yeah, it’s a movie about a movie. a meta-movie? But watching how the story unfolds can be romantic. What i notice is, the couple have never actually say I love you to each other, though they are in at the right time and the right place–according to Hollywood standards–on several occasions. perhaps a kind of professional love (oxymoronic?). or platonic love.

But again, I cant help noticing some scenes which definitely refer to other movies, movies The Artist pays tribute to. For example, Citizen Kane’s Xanadu in the scene when George is discovering his ‘treasures’ in a room in Peppy’s house; also a little bit of Kane’s first wife in George’s wife. (The reel and fire scene reminds you of The Aviator or Inglorious Basterds?)

Bottom line, I love this movie. I love the black-and-white picture. I love the surrealist psychedelic vision, I love that they dance together.



review on « perfume »: how insane is murder?

Jean-Baptise Grenouille was his name. in the beginning i was paying attention to how the main character was shot. his nose (other parts of his face in shade). his head and neck from above. dragged, his bony back. then  his chained legs. i was a bit scared to see his face. if he’s good looking. because anyhow we will symphatize with him despite he is a ‘murderer’, enemy of the state, enemy of morality, enemy of humanity, enemy of life and love.

it is a good character building. how jean is born in the market, where all smells gathered and mixed. how he develops his, other see it as, brutality. how people who take advantage of him die.

so this guy has a great talent in recognizing smells, and his destiny is to be able to extract and preserve them. and he’s so obsessed with a girl’s odor (the look doesnt matter but somehow maybe it has something to do with red curly hair). but she’s dead. and the story is diverted to the quest of formulating perfume from women’s body. i dont know exactly why all the girls must be virgin or white or thin.

the inspired by the perfume of the pharaoh consisting of 13 elements, out of which 12 are identifiable and 1 is not till that date, our protagonist does his experiment. but then he is shown as angelic and messiah-like amid mass orgy, which overturn moral values that uphold the society. and he barely speaks.

the obsession with smell is taken to the extreme in this movie. our smell is our soul, our existence. well, the ending can be seen as tragic, or romantic. tragic as he is forgotten. romantic as it is unusual. it can be logical also, a consequence of not having his own odor. but i really love the setting. where else can a movie on parfume be set in a place other than france?

too bad we cannot digitalized smell. otherwise i would have really enjoyed watching this movie. in the end of the day, i am on his side as i love GOOD smells. i believe that feromon decides the person who we fall in love with.

then i learned that this movie was based on a novel. and the novel has even been translated into indonesian (with a good cover design indeed).