Michael Hazanavicius (writer and director) The Artist / 2011
George Hazanavicius' The Artist may not be the most original film of the year, but it is certainly one of the most enjoyable. Echoing as it does dozens of films which relate to acting and filmmaking, The Artist steals its situation from A Star Is Born, with a story that, like the Judy Garland/James Mason work, centers around a young up-and-coming actress falling in love with a matinee hero whose career is about to collapse, the former star sinking into alcoholism and suicide. The Artist's focus on the quick shift from silent films to talkies is parallel with much of Singing in the Rain. And the film's obvious love affair with silent film-acting demonstrates connections to Sunset Boulevard. But while those great films told their story through their character's words and songs, Hazanavicius' does it with it without a peep—well, not quite! The music—popular songs of the day, the poignant Bernard Herrmann love theme from Vertigo, and original music by Ludovic Bource—is crucial to the film. And, although doubt this will happen, the sound man should receive a major award. Despite the characters' silence, sound does play important roles throughout.