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The Artist Review, or The Best Use of Effective Realism


I've already mentioned this before, but I'm mentioning it again.

I came up with the term "effective realism" as a cinematic technique, and I'm hoping I could get it recognized as a legitimate term in film theory. To do that, however, I need to write a full academic paper on it, and get it published in a reputable academic journal, and sadly I do not have time to do that. Hopefully some time in the near future.

That's 'cause I'm too busy scoring with chicks.

Anyway, the previous discussions I've had about effective realism had to do with language. Effective realism means that the language spoken in a film narrative should be accurate. If it's a film about ancient Rome, then the characters should speak in Latin. That means the only film about Jesus Christ that uses effective realism is The Passion of the Christ. That film's director, Mel Gibson, took effective realism further with his follow-up film Apocalypto, where the characters spoke Yucatec Mayan.

After watching The Artist, I've discovered that effective realism actually involves more than just the dialogue. It involves the entire film. Like Martin Scorsese's Hugo, The Artist is a film about films─specifically, silent films. And what better way to pay tribute to the era of silent films than to tell it in... silence.

Silent except for the sound of how awesome his mustache is.

Wait, what?

Yes, this film is a silent film. In 2011, you ask? Yes again. But what does effective realism have to do with it? Everything.

  1. This film has no dialogue. That's because films did not have dialogue back in the late 1920s.
  2. This film was shot at 22 frames per second. That's because films back then were shot at lower frame rates.
  3. This film is in black and white. That's because color did not exist back then.
  4. This film uses the old 1.33:1 aspect ratio. That's because this was the same aspect ratio used by silent films.
  5. This film utilizes no zoom shots. That's because the zoom technique did not exist back then.
  6. This film depends heavily on the musical score. That's because the old films did, too.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the true essence of effective realism. What it basically does is create a fake yet extremely believable world using authentic and accurate elements such as language, cinematography, costume design, editing, and acting. Good job, Michel Hazanavicius.


Despite being a French/Belgian production, there are some familiar Hollywood faces here, such as John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle, and a short cameo by British actor Malcolm McDowell. But the best acting of all came from George Valentin himself, Monsieur Jean Dujardin. It's got to be the smile.


Seriously. Just look at that mug.

The Artist. France/Belgium. 2011.

Rating: Nine out of ten.


Anonymous said...

Sting Lacson!

Ang ganda ng konsepto ng "effective realism" -- bilang off-shoot ng encompassing term na Realism (na matagal nang nabuwag at minultiply lamang no'ng kasagsagan ng Hollywood para matawag na hyperreality); at mas lalo akong namangha na nakita mong pinaka-epektibo siya sa isang "silent film" o reproduksiyon nito sa isang panahon kung saan hindi lamang ang tunog ang nakalilikha ng ingay mismo kun'di mas lalo na ang makukulay na imahen; hindi ko pa napapanood ang "The Artist" ngunit parang napakaganda niyang prospekto't proyekto (na nawa'y hindi hahaging ni saglit sa nostalgia o romantisismo ng nakaraan). Gusto ko pang marinig ang tungkol sa "effective realism", Sting; magkita sana tayo para mapag-usapan natin ito.


Carlo Pacolor Garcia

Having the entire movie in silence, just because it was about the Silent Era in Hollywood movies struck me as rather gimmicky and unnecessary.

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