It’s true that a lot of the films at this year’s festival were a touch on the dark side – but halfway through, a little gem raised all our spirits. The Artist is a corker – I had a grin on my face from the opening credits and all the way home, even in the back of a minicab that smelled of farts. You could tell you were onto a good thing when it was introduced by Harvey Weinstein whose fervent support for Michel Hazanavicious’s vision really got this made. It’s totally my film of the festival and one of the few that had me shedding a tear – and that was of joy.
The Artist tells the story of a silent movie star and his reaction to the arrival of talkies, and offers more than a few nods to classic Hollywood, not least Singin’ in the Rain and A Star is Born (have to declare a bit of personal interest here too as my great grandad was part of the introduction of talking pictures to Britain when he worked for RCA in the 1930s.) It’s done in brilliantly authentic style, and is touching, funny and clever – and the sweeping score must be a shoe-in for an Oscar. It’ll be a shocker if this isn’t somewhere on the best film list too, and if the wind is in the right direction you never know, it could win.
Everything about The Artist is a joy, I defy anyone not to love every minute of it. Am not going to spoil it by rabbiting on here – it’s perfect, just see it. Then see it again and dance all the way home.