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Unconventional film 'The Artist' is a love letter to cinema

November 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
One of the new movies in limited release this weekend is getting a lot of attention. And it's definitely not what audiences are used to seeing in this day and age. The film is in black and white. It has two French stars in the lead roles. And it's a silent movie.

"The Artist" tells the story of a silent-film star whose career is dying due to the arrival of talking pictures.

On the other hand, the "talkies" are making a star out of a beautiful and charismatic song-and-dance performer. She helps him figure out the next step in his life.

"The Artist" is a love story that's really a love letter to Hollywood's past.

Its two French stars shot the black-and-white silent movie in and around Hollywood.

"You have to, you know, imagine the language, what they're saying, everything. So you work with the story," said actress Berenice Bejo, who stars in the film.

"There was no language back in the time and movies were universal, and now everybody's doing his movies in his own country so it's kind of sad," said Bejo. "This movie brings, you know, everybody together."

And that includes some American stars who couldn't pass up the opportunity to try something different, working without words for French director Michel Hazanavicius.

"It is a simple story on some level but the minutiae of it -- " said actress Missi Pyle.

"Very well told," said actor John Goodman.

"It's extraordinarily well told and there's nothing simple about the production of it," said Pyle.

"Yeah. Boy, has he got an eye," said Goodman.

"This is why I fell in love with movies," said actress Penelope Ann Miller. "This is why I wanted to be an actor, was because of movies like 'The Artist.' And I think we're getting to re-introduce that, and I think that's a beautiful love letter to our industry and to cinema."

"At the beginning, we're very black and white, and at the end, we're very gray," said Bejo.

"The Artist" is rated PG-13.

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