On October 25th, the magical era of silent films opens NOHO KCET Cinema Series with The Artist. Set in Hollywood between 1927 and 1931, the story centers on a declining male silent movie star and rising actress. Director/writer Michel Hazanavicius paid an homage to old Hollywood by making the film in black-and-white and shooting entirely in the square box 1.33 aspect ratio.
More on the film from Wikipedia:
Jean Dujardin as George Valentin
Bérénice Bejo as Peppy Miller
John Goodman as Al Zimmer
James Cromwell as Clifton
Director Michel Hazanavicius had been fantasizing about 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 format. According 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. The 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 the OSS 117 films. Hazanavicius chose the form of the melodrama, much because he thought many of the films from the silent era which have aged best are melodramas. He did 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.
- Here's a review of the film from KCET's producer of Cinema Series, Michele Garza.