The era of the silent film made way for sound and talkies in 1929, which was the first and last year a silent film won best picture at the Academy Awards.
That is until Michel Hazanavicius’s 2011 film “The Artist,” a love letter in the style of those black-and-white silent movies, won best picture – along with four other Academy Awards, three Golden Globes, seven BAFTAs, and a slew of other critical honors. How poetic that a silent movie depicting the end of the silent film era would win such a distinction more than 80 years later.
Audiences joined Larry Mantle on December 2 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel for another installment of FilmWeek Screenings, where he showcased the movie and hosted a post-screening conversation with special guests. The FilmWeek Screenings series – selected and hosted by Mantle – is dedicated to movies set in Southern California.
“The Artist” takes place in Hollywood in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and is shot entirely in Los Angeles. It follows silent film star George Valentin as he copes with a career that is fading along with the silent film era. Along the way, he encounters and develops a relationship with actress Peppy Miller, whose own star is rising along with the talking picture.
Today on FilmWeek, we’ll play an excerpt from our post-screening conversation about the making of the film with FilmWeek critics Lael Loewenstein and Wade Major as well as film historian Marc Wanamaker, who consulted on “The Artist.”
Marc Wanamaker, film historian and consultant on “The Artist”