Today, probably no one denies the proposition that “movie is an art”, although there are certainly people who are thinking about the question of “what kind of art is film”. We have taken it for granted that films need to speak, but it has also been said that films should have as little dialogue as possible, because the picture itself can express more than words. At this time, “The Artist” opened his mouth to participate in the discussion about “speaking”.
The most prominent label of the film is “silent”, but it is not all silent. It imitates and pays homage to the silent film era of the 1920s and 1930s. The actor in the film, George Valentine, is a silent film star. Like Chaplin and other real silent film stars, he has encountered the arrival of the sound film era; what is even more difficult for him to accept is that he brought it up with one hand. The actress Barbie, Miller has become a hot star in the sound film. George ridiculed and rejected the sound film, but gradually declined. The film “silently” depicts an artistic life entangled in love in the contrast between their rise and fall, a sound and a silent one. However, compared with those real silent films, the “silent films” in “The Artist” have become a tool for the director to express the theme and a meaningful form. The sound treatment of the film is quite wonderful. Sounds other than music appear for the first time in the film when George has a nightmare and finds that the world around him has sound, but he can’t make a sound. The sound of the glass touching the table, the barking of the dog, the sound of the stool falling to the ground, the laughter of the actress… These sounds, both for George and for those of us who think we are watching a silent film, are all It’s a sudden stimulus. These remind us that the voices that are often absent from the movies are the real protagonists. And at the end of the film, George and Barbie happily finish a dance film, and their gasps appear for the first time in the film – the era of the sound film has come, and the film has regained the sound. Compliments from the boss, shouts from the crew, and George’s only voice in the movie: With pleasure, (very honored.)
Indeed, The Artist seems to strongly support the proposition made at the outset. Due to the limitations of technology at the time, silent films needed to compress the film dialogue to the extreme, and only use subtitles to type it out as a last resort. However, in “The Artist”, a “silent film” born in the early 21st century, the arrangement of subtitles is not all to complement the picture and technical nostalgia, but the director’s careful design. If we pay a little attention to these subtleties and use our memory, we will find that a word that occurs very frequently is “talk” (talk, talk). The first thing to note is that one of the names of the talkie movie (and the one that appears in the movie) is talkie. In this way, the talk that appears in the movie becomes a pun. When the boss of Jinnuo Company was about to fire George in the movie, he said, “You and I belong to another era, George. The world is TALKING now.” (You and I belong to another era, George. The world is TALKING now. ) And when George insisted on his silent art, but it went into decline, his wife said to him, “We have to TALK, George. Why do you refuse to TALK.” ?)
George refused talk and couldn’t accept talkie. At the boss, firing George is the audience’s choice. “People need new faces, TALKING faces,” he said, and here he somewhat ruthlessly points out the character of cinema and its fate (at least in this day and age) as a mass art . There is nothing wrong or right in mass art itself, and any art, at its most prosperous, is mass art, such as Hellenistic sculpture, Elizabethan drama, 19th century novels, operas, etc. The people of the world needed them, just as we need movies today, yet they all eventually moved away from the masses, earning the title of “high art”. But what needs to be understood is that not only have they separated from the masses, but the masses have abandoned them. We are always choosing the entertainment that suits us and looking for new stimulation. When there is entertainment that is more vivid, easier to understand, and more convenient to participate in, we will naturally abandon the old way. It is precisely because of this that when a new category of art arises, it often binds itself closely with the acceptance of the public; and popular art inevitably bears the reputation of being vulgar and simple. It is these characteristics of popular art that give George his defeat. An artist is unwilling to give up his pride in order to cater to the public’s taste, but he does not realize that this pride is held up by the public, so he encounters the unique embarrassment of “popular artists”: for that The pride of an “artist”, he is unwilling to change with the taste of the public, but in this way he is no longer an “artist”. People abandoned him in pursuit of new excitement, thinking of him only when they stumbled upon him, and pointing at him like a rare old thing. It was not until he almost died in the fire that people suddenly realized that the disappearance of old things was also a regrettable thing, and they said with sadness and surprise: “Oh, God! He is George Valentine!”
Like many filmmakers, George is literally being manipulated by the audience. He clearly recognized this – when he independently produced the silent film “Tears of Love”, his words were published in the newspaper, saying: “I am not a puppet, I am an artist!” However, this protest and subsequent failure, But it highlights his “puppet” identity. Or the words of the boss of Jinnuo Company (perhaps the director conveyed his own sadness through this character): “I hope this is not the case, but the public wants fresh faces, and the public will never make mistakes.” Here” The original word for “fresh face” is “fresh meat”. This word will naturally remind us of the idiom about “knife” and “fish meat”. Here, the “artist” becomes the “fish”, and the audience who accepts the gift from the artist is the “knife”.
However, in life, the audience is always chasing the artist frantically, as if willing to accept the mercy of “fish meat”. Indeed, George also has many “fans” who cheer for George, making George have to go out and greet them again and again. Using his own performance, George can successfully manipulate the audience, making them nervous, relaxed, laughing, and clapping at the same time. And that’s one of the reasons why many critics reject the art of cinema—it makes people manipulated and restrained, unified rather than liberating and free. However, the film quickly points out that George’s fans are old and “belonging to another era”, just as Barbie Miller’s boyfriend paid tribute to George: “My father is a big fan of yours. .”
However, what is even more paradoxical is that in the unequal and stable relationship between the “artist-public” group, the latter is also manipulated. The manipulator here is the technology of “going forward”. Whether or not a movie should talk, to be precise, is not the choice of the public, but the result of technological development. Just as our needs are determined by innovative technological products today, when movies can talk, the public will feel, “I like talking movies.” Of course, it is not unique that the art of film is constrained by technology. Painting has also advanced by leaps and bounds due to the innovation of pigments, and the rise of novels is inseparable from the expansion of the printing industry. Yet there has never been an art so closely integrated with technology that it has two identities at the same time – “art” and “industry”. Before the birth of the film, the development of art observed by philosophers was increasingly independent of external forms and substances – sculpture and architecture still required numerous materials and tools, while painting required color and brushes, and poetry , you only need words and pen and paper, not even pen and paper. However, the reproducibility of technology has greatly reversed this “development” trend, making art not only inseparable from technology, but also increasingly dependent on technology. This is particularly evident in the production of film art. It is in this way that we see that many directors are exhausted on the road of chasing technology, and there are also many films that win the market because of the leading technology; we also see that because they cannot keep up with new technology, George can only “for Young people make way”, was overwhelmed by the unstoppable tide, just as he was swallowed by quicksand at the end of “Tears of Love”.
However, among the three relationships between artists, the public and technology, which are linked together by talk, the latter is the most impersonal and the least aesthetic. Perhaps we can say that new technologies can bring new aesthetics, but this kind of beauty may really be just new stimulation, and technology is the most powerful way to create stimulation. However, in this world that has experienced many technological revolutions, technology is the only dominant force; more importantly, art is personal, while technology and industry must be oriented towards the majority. Therefore, “the public will never make mistakes”, and only the artists make mistakes. Just as many directors today are blamed for not doing their special effects well, George couldn’t escape the public ridicule – the silent actor’s performance was described as “mugging”. The word was coined by Barbie Miller, who also said, “The old go out, the new come in. Make way for the young! That’s life!” But the new will always grow old, and the one who has eliminated others will eventually be Others knock out, as happened to boxer Tom King in Jack London’s A Piece of Steak. However, unlike Tom who won with his hands, George and Barbie were forced into the metabolic cycle by technology. Like the sand that devoured George, they were washed ashore by the tide and carried back to the depths of the ocean when the next tide hit.
So, under the majestic throne of technology, George must make compromises. At the end of the film, when George is about to shoot himself in the room where his silent film has been burned down, the sound of Barbie driving into a tree saves him. Barbie rushed upstairs and told George she was just trying to help him. George waved, answered, and they embraced, and George quickly accepted Barbie’s offer to shoot a dance movie with her. We have no way of knowing what George answered, but perhaps the director couldn’t provide a reasonable explanation for George’s sudden turn, so he just ignored it. George’s transformation at the end is extremely dissonant with the entire film’s conflict, and has the potential to make the entire film a mediocre romance. However, if it doesn’t end like this, where will George and Barbie go? Audiences love big reunions and love scenes. If George really dies, or dies alone in his adherence to the art of silent film (although this adherence is also inextricably linked to technology), it will dampen the expectations of the audience, and it will also cause the sudden turn of the plot to disappear, making the The film lacks a lot of fun and is a bit bland. However, I feel that the design at the end of the film, while adding interest, makes the whole story less meaningful – some conflicts don’t necessarily have to be resolved unless we resolve them for the sake of resolution.
The same kind of design, as well as the dog in the movie. Gutted it was a superfluous element, although it also contributed a lot to the development of the plot and added a lot of interest to the silent film. However, this kind of contribution and interest is extremely unnatural, like the exaggerated performance of early silent films; and its extremely human characteristics also make it act as a sudden arrival at a critical moment in classical drama when it saves George. God’s role. But this is also a helpless thing, because what the audience needs may really be just condiments, and the movie cannot refuse this need of the audience. The films we have seen are the result of the negotiation and cooperation among artists, the public and technology. It emphasizes win-win results for all parties, and the monologues of artists are often unable to support a film—whether it is a Hollywood commercial blockbuster or a variety of This kind of independent film – it can only find a place in other “high art”.
Some people say that film is an art of dream-making. In fact, any art is dream-making, it creates hallucinations for us, creating another world in which we can inhabit (at least temporarily). However, film dreaming relies not only on artistic means, but also technical means. We are in the cinema, just like everyone who was dreamed by Cobb in “Inception”; and a good director is just like an excellent dream maker, not only needs genius and creativity, but also needs the ability to make everyone dream. The amount of medicine required that magical dream machine.