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The Artist (2011)


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#21 SDG

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 01:24 PM

: Well, I don't see why a trifle can't be excellent for what it is.

Exactly, for what it is: that's the rub.

Why? An excellent trifle is an excellent thing. I can't say one has ever rubbed me the wrong way for not being an excellent filet mignon.

#22 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 12:51 AM

SDG wrote:
: Why? An excellent trifle is an excellent thing. I can't say one has ever rubbed me the wrong way for not being an excellent filet mignon.

I dunno, how often does it really make sense to give the Best Dish award to the dessert? (Especially when the dessert in question has some notable flaws, and is basically in the "pretty good" category rather than the "great" category?)

#23 Overstreet

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 09:26 PM

For the record, I don't know that I can be bothered to say much more than I did on Twitter:

THE ARTIST: Lots of playful fun. Oscar all but guaranteed. But it takes certain things so lightly that, well, I cannot take it lightly. ... This riches to rags to riches story affirms all of Hollywood's fractured values from glamour to hormones-over-responsibilities. ... And so it goes. One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.

#24 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 01:17 PM

Full agreement that The Artist's use of the Vertigo score is a big "Huh?" that takes you out of the movie and renders The Artist's claim to greatness somewhat suspect, but still... "rape"? Did Kim Novak really have to use that word?

Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 09 January 2012 - 01:18 PM.


#25 Overstreet

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 03:06 PM

My review.

I don't recall that I've been in such a small minority on RT before.

#26 SDG

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:10 PM

My review.

Great review, Jeff. Your final sentences pack a wallop.

I don't recall that I've been in such a small minority on RT before.

Heh. I am still the lone voice of dissent on the Tomatometer for this film. :)

FWIW, I enjoyed the same things in The Artist that you did, and while I had reservations, they weren't quite the same as yours.

If Valentin were more sympathetic, it would bother me more that the movie doesn't give more weight to his failed marriage. As it is, I think it blames him for failing to communicate with his wife (tied into the whole silent gimmick). I saw him as a failed man, and her as a figure of pathos, not comic relief. Certainly Valentin's long downward spiral in the second half pretty much kills any remaining sympathy I had for him, and he remains pathetic right to the end, where he's saved only by Peppy's pity.

Is there an extramarital affair between Valentin and Peppy? Can I really have forgotten that? I remember that Peppy is initially star-struck by Valentin, and flirts with the idea of being romanced by him (in the cute dressing-room scene with the coat) -- and later after he, and his marriage, crash and burn, she's there to pick up the pieces. But I don't recall thinking of her as a homewrecker. Perhaps I succumbed to the movie's wool over the eyes.

Ultimately, I see the movie as more of a celebration of technique, convention and the iconography of an era in Hollywood and cinema than a celebration of the lives of its characters.

Edited by SDG, 09 January 2012 - 05:13 PM.


#27 vjmorton

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:20 PM

Steve:

It's kinda implied they become smitten with each other while rehearsing "A German Affair" (that great scene where they do the same take a half-dozen times, and another great scene of her with his suit). But there's no indication, explicit or explicit, that the two have A French Affair. And certainly the back half of the film is about
Spoiler


And BTW ... I think the whole story is really an allegorical fantasy about sound films' treatment of silent films (or rather, a fantasy about what the treatment should have been). Actual marriages of actual people are of little consequence.

Edited by vjmorton, 09 January 2012 - 05:24 PM.


#28 Overstreet

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:28 PM

Is there an extramarital affair between Valentin and Peppy? Can I really have forgotten that?


Do you limit "extramarital affair" to sexual activity? Because they are clearly falling in love lust infatuation.

Actual marriages of actual people are of little consequence.


So, I'm to care about the way talkies treat silents in this movie, but not the way a man treats his wife?

Edited by Overstreet, 09 January 2012 - 05:27 PM.


#29 vjmorton

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:31 PM


Is there an extramarital affair between Valentin and Peppy? Can I really have forgotten that?


Do you limit "extramarital affair" to sexual activity? Because they are clearly falling in love lust infatuation.

Even if not, there's no indication either that they acted on that lust or (more importantly) that Peppy was a factor in the marriage's breakup.


Actual marriages of actual people are of little consequence.


So, I'm to care about the way talkies treat silents in this movie, but not the way a man treats his wife?

Given the lack of plausible psychology and the film's (bizarre) anti-naturalistic premise ... why not? In a film that is not about persons, terms like "man" and "wife" don't apply.

Edited by vjmorton, 09 January 2012 - 05:32 PM.


#30 Overstreet

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:41 PM


Do you limit "extramarital affair" to sexual activity? Because they are clearly falling in love lust infatuation.

Even if not, there's no indication either that they acted on that lust or (more importantly) that Peppy was a factor in the marriage's breakup.


Maybe not Peppy. But perhaps the actresses he's courted before. It's not Peppy, no. It's the willingness of Valentin to enjoy flirtations of pretty women while he is still married. (His eager embrace of adoration, and the ease with which he slides into flirtation with Peppy, make it easy for me to assume he's done this before.) And if Peppy knows he's married, she's just the latest contributor to his irresponsibility.

In a film that is not about persons, terms like "man" and "wife" don't apply.


[blink]

[blink]

Look, I don't mean to go all Movieguide on this movie, but I kept looking for something or somebody or some issue to care about. If this movie was supposed to make me feel sorry for Silents, a couple of things - its plot, its characters - did plenty to distract me from that.

Edited by Overstreet, 09 January 2012 - 05:44 PM.


#31 vjmorton

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:50 PM



Do you limit "extramarital affair" to sexual activity? Because they are clearly falling in love lust infatuation.

Even if not, there's no indication either that they acted on that lust or (more importantly) that Peppy was a factor in the marriage's breakup.


Maybe not Peppy. But perhaps the actresses he's courted before. It's not Peppy, no. It's the willingness of Valentin to enjoy flirtations of pretty women while he is still married. And if Peppy knows he's married, she's just the latest contributor to that.


Does the film intimate that there are any "actresses he's courted before" (or "latest contributor")? If not, I'd call this hostile eisegesis.


In a film that is not about persons, terms like "man" and "wife" don't apply.

(FTFY)

:blink:

:blink:


::ermm::

Yes. Maybe it would have been more precise to say "issues surrounding terms such as 'man' and 'wife' don't apply." But yeah ... if a movie is intentionally and obviously implausible, characterization-related things that might be important in a realistic movie (even moral issues related therein) take a back seat to whatever the stylization indicates the film is "really" about.

And Lars Von Trier ROOLZ!!!

::headbang::

Edited by vjmorton, 09 January 2012 - 06:05 PM.


#32 Ryan H.

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:58 PM

Is there an extramarital affair between Valentin and Peppy?

Not by my standards, there ain't.

Ultimately, I see the movie as more of a celebration of technique, convention and the iconography of an era in Hollywood and cinema than a celebration of the lives of its characters.

Yep.

#33 Overstreet

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 06:39 PM

I'm as inclined to say that affairs begin in the gaze as I am to say a human life begins at conception. But we'll just have to agree to disagree.

I've revised my review to say: "...it celebrates a love-at-first-sight encounter that leads to an extramarital affair (it may not be consummated, but come on: Affairs can happen within a gaze, within a silence.)"

#34 Ryan H.

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 06:49 PM

I'm as inclined to say that affairs begin in the gaze as I am to say a human life begins at conception.

Naturally. But you have to have some sense of an individual's inner life before you understand what's in a gaze, and I'm not sure THE ARTIST gives us serious indication that there's anything that can be rightly referred to as an extramarital affair--consummated or otherwise--in the film.

Edited by Ryan H., 09 January 2012 - 06:50 PM.


#35 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 08:15 PM

Overstreet wrote:
: It's the willingness of Valentin to enjoy flirtations of pretty women while he is still married.

I really can't fault a movie star -- or anyone else who lives for the public -- for "enjoying flirtations". I mean, within reason, at any rate.

: I'm as inclined to say that affairs begin in the gaze as I am to say a human life begins at conception.

And when two embryos fuse into a single embryo (producing people who have two different sets of DNA within their bodies), is one human life snuffed out, or... or...

If things are still so in-flux and fundamentally undecided at conception, they can certainly be in-flux and undecided at the gaze.

vjmorton wrote:
: Does the film intimate that there are any "actresses he's courted before" (or "latest contributor")? If not, I'd call this hostile eisegesis.

Agreed. And I'd never heard that term ("hostile eisegesis") before -- your coinage, or...?

#36 SDG

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 08:56 PM

: It's the willingness of Valentin to enjoy flirtations of pretty women while he is still married.

I really can't fault a movie star -- or anyone else who lives for the public -- for "enjoying flirtations". I mean, within reason, at any rate.

Well, "enjoying" is only a function of concupiscence, less a matter of fault than of shame. It's the "flirtations" themselves (on the part of a spouse, or someone flirting with a spouse, to the extent that there is a moral act) that are culpable. I think Valentin's level of unresisted, open distraction with Peppy can be called culpable flirtation, or infatuation, and I think he can be faulted for it, as the flip side of his passivity regarding his crumbling marriage.

: I'm as inclined to say that affairs begin in the gaze as I am to say a human life begins at conception.

And when two embryos fuse into a single embryo (producing people who have two different sets of DNA within their bodies), is one human life snuffed out, or... or...

If things are still so in-flux and fundamentally undecided at conception, they can certainly be in-flux and undecided at the gaze.

Good heavens.

I certainly don't think anything is "undecided at conception" (was the Person of Jesus "undecided" at His conception? and yes, I have no hesitation in affirming that when two embryos fuse, a life is lost, just as a life is lost with every miscarriage, and even with every embryo that fails to implant).

As for the "gaze," well, we have it on our Lord's own authority that some gazes are as bad as adultery itself. But not every less-than-innocent gaze.

And even when a gaze amounts to adultery of the heart, I don't think I would use the phrase "extramarital affair," which implies a mutual, shared infidelity. I might possibly use that phrase for full-blown "emotional adultery," in which a man and woman become emotionally intimate in a way that belongs only to those pledged to one another, and are lovers in all but flesh. But where there is only flirtation, infatuation, distraction, perhaps even desire, "extramarital affair" still seems to me potentially upping the ante.

Edited by SDG, 09 January 2012 - 09:03 PM.


#37 Benchwarmer

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:37 AM

Heh. I am still the lone voice of dissent on the Tomatometer for this film. :)


.....and this one as well. ;)

#38 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:53 AM

SDG wrote:
: I think Valentin's level of unresisted, open distraction with Peppy can be called culpable flirtation, or infatuation, and I think he can be faulted for it, as the flip side of his passivity regarding his crumbling marriage.

Possibly. I'd have to see the movie again (it's been a few months) before I could get into the details here.

: . . . was the Person of Jesus "undecided" at His conception? . . .

Well, let's just say that if an angel announces that you are going to bear God's son -- and without the usual biological benefit of a human father's 23 chromosomes -- odds are you probably won't have a miscarriage, nor will the embryo suffer any of these OTHER complications. The "in-flux and undecided" element is kind of removed from the equation there.

: . . . and yes, I have no hesitation in affirming that when two embryos fuse, a life is lost . . .

Or we could say that TWO lives are lost and that another life is CREATED. (Paging Tuvix...)

: As for the "gaze," well, we have it on our Lord's own authority that some gazes are as bad as adultery itself. But not every less-than-innocent gaze.

Not every, no.

: And even when a gaze amounts to adultery of the heart, I don't think I would use the phrase "extramarital affair," which implies a mutual, shared infidelity.

Agreed.

#39 SDG

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 07:26 AM

: As for the "gaze," well, we have it on our Lord's own authority that some gazes are as bad as adultery itself. But not every less-than-innocent gaze.

Not every, no.

Which, FWIW, is a limitation in the analogy, since conception is conception, and a human life is a human life, whereas a lustful gaze may fall anywhere on a wide spectrum of moral significance.

: . . . and yes, I have no hesitation in affirming that when two embryos fuse, a life is lost . . .

Or we could say that TWO lives are lost and that another life is CREATED. (Paging Tuvix...)

BTW, any documentation of this happening? I mentioned it last night to Suz, RN, and she was skeptical that a person could have two sets of DNA.

Edited by SDG, 10 January 2012 - 09:14 AM.


#40 SDG

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 09:18 AM

Heh. I am still the lone voice of dissent on the Tomatometer for this film. :)

.....and this one as well. ;)

Ha. True, but there are a lot more reviews for the other one, which makes the contrast more striking.