The Artist always seemed like a wonderful way to finish of the fantastic Leeds International Film Festival and it turned out to be my favourite film of the festival. I wasn’t alone in praising the Palme d’Or nominated film as it also won the Official Selection Audience Award at Leeds.
The film is a complete joy to watch, the performances and attention to detail are fantastic and compensate excessively for the somewhat obvious story (although I’m starting to feel I’ve seen too many films and every story is obvious). One strange problem I had with the film was a result of seeing too many other silent films during the festival; Paul Merton’s Silent Clowns, Professor Vanessa, The Phantom Of The Opera were all accompanied by live music and so the pre recorded soundtrack of The Artist seemed out of place. It didn’t take long to forget about that though but how amazing would it be with live music?
My only other problem with the film was a feeling of dread growing inside me as we reached the finale. To me there seemed an obvious and cheap way the film could end and I had a horrible feeling that if were to be used it would undo all the great work up until that point. A scene with a glass and a dressing room table about half way through the film scared me more but when that was so wonderfully handled it restored some faith in the film makers. Unfortunately the eventual ending turned out to be more or less what I thought it would be. It was met with rapturous laughter and delight from the full Hyde Park Picture House audience but to me it felt like such a disappointing way to end the great film. Fortunately it didn’t really take anything away from the rest of the experience and I was happy to join in the spontaneous round of applause the film received.
Can we forget all the 3D malarky and go back to making films the way they were supposed to be… silent.