Bit of trivia: back in early ’80s my mom had vast VHS collection of old movies that my aunt in California used to send over. That’s because my mom had a home-based Betamax business back then—she supplied movies to rental stores at Virra Mall.
My summer job was to edit TV commercials from the tapes and got paid Php 15 per tape I edited—not bad
I used to logged in all the movies I watched in a planner. I would watch 3-4 movies/day on average in the summer and whatever I could watch the rest of the year. I must’ve seen 2,000 movies during that period of time.
I loved Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Doris Day and Rock Hudson, Frank Capra, Jimmy Stewart, Audey Hepburn, James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Lana Turner, and all that.
During the mid ’80s when Imelda Marcos had her Manila International Film Fest, they would show all these foreign movies on TV and I lapped them all up.
I don’t consider myself a movie snob, in fact I also love Tagalog movies from the time of Susan Roces and Jose Mari Gonzalez, to the time of Dina Bonnevie, Sharon Cuneta, Ruffa, Aiko and Carmina. I’m not picky but I am also jaded.
These days it’s hard for me to fall in love with a movie, because many times I can predict the plot, the next line or the outcome, especially in Tagalog movies.
I was disappointed in the movies nominated in this year’s Oscars—up until last night when I slept very late watching Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist.
At first I didn’t want to see it when Grace said it was a silent movie. I couldn’t imagine sitting through something that sounded like a long art film.
But last night I was in bed at 1:30 AM and didn’t want to sleep. The Artist was sitting in my downloads folder. I thought of starting it. If I got sleepy I could just watch it in doses. But I wanted to see it because it won the most awards in the 2012 Academy Awards.
It had me right from the opening credits.
The story takes place in Hollywood, between 1927 and 1932, about the relationship of an older silent film star and a rising young actress, just when silent cinema falls out of fashion and is replaced by the talkies. (Wiki)
That is all you need to know.
As a lover of fashion, cinema, and nostalgia, I was dazzled by the costumes, the set design, the story and most of all, the character George Valentin, played by multi-awarded French actor Jean Dujardin.
Check out all his awards for this particular role:
• Academy Award for Best Actor
• AACTA International Award for Best Actor
• BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
• Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award
• Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
• Hollywood Film Festival Spotlight Award
• Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
• Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
• London Film Critics Circle Award for Actor of the Year
• Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
• Santa Barbara International Film Festival Cinema Vanguard Award
• Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
• Étoile d’Or Award for Best Actor
• Women Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screen Couple (with Bérénice Bejo) (Wiki)
No wonder George Clooney predicted the Best Actor speech would be delivered in French when he was interviewed on the Red Carpet at the Oscars.
The role of George Valentin, while any actor’s dream, isn’t something just anyone could portray.
First of all, Jean Dujardin had the right face and facial expressions, even the correct hairline for the era. Second, his smile is so sincere and disarming, it just makes your heart melt. Third, he can dance.
At first I couldn’t stand the looks of the actress who plays Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), but she actually grew on me as the film progressed.
Won’t say any more except if you love cinema and have the patience to watch an almost silent movie, don’t miss this one.
I couldn’t take it for the first 15 minutes and then I got over it and saw the most amazing thing I have seen in a very long time.