Thursday, March 22, 2012

What I Took Away From The Artist

Okay. I admit it. I wasn't all that eager to go see The Artist. Yes. I know it received a bunch of Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor. And I usually try to see the nominated motion pictures. But frankly, as a writer, I have to tell you the idea of sitting in a darkened theater for two hours and not hearing a word from the characters on the big screen left me something less than gung-ho. My son talked me into going and I must say I was pleasantly surprised.

Watching the silent movie in a movie theater gave me an opportunity to experience what it might have been like for those first movie goers back during the hey days of Rudolph Valentino. I could almost believe I'd been transported back to pre-talkies days. In this world of technology gone wild, the charm of simpler times and simpler pleasures was irresistible. And charmed, I was.

But beyond the skilled performances and flawless execution of the award-winning silent movie, it was the message I took away from the film that really hit home.

The film is about George Valentin, an actor who has a gift. His gift? Being able to reach film audiences without ever saying a word. The consummate mime, he was, the actor insisted, an artist. He created a world of entertainment and emotion for the film goer.

With the advent of sound, the silent film actor held true to his belief that what he did was, in fact, art. Sound, he thought, cheapened that art--required him to be less than he knew he was. Whether George was right or wrong in that sentiment is irrelevant. It is what he believed.

The movie got me to thinking about writing. Here we are with technology changing the publishing industry landscape forever. Now anyone can write a book and self-publish it. Writers have the ability to reach millions of readers with the click of a mouse.

In the mad rush to get that next book written and out there, one can be tempted to forget that writers are artists, as well. We use words to create wonderfully unique worlds and characters and stories. We comfort, entertain, enlighten, encourage, persuade, move, and delight our readers. We constantly strive to improve our craft, reach new audiences, set new goals, try new variations on age-old themes. We have...a gift.

Technology will continue to change. What is now new and cutting edge will soon be obsolete. But the ability of an artist to enchant an audience is timeless.

As all true art is.

And that's about the deepest you'll ever see me get.

By the way, this weekend is my birthday and I'll be one of many who'll be waiting in line to see The Hunger Games!

Can't wait! (For the movie...NOT the birthday.)

~Bullet Hole~


Terri Osburn said...

I just can't work up any enthusiasm for this movie. (The Artist that is.) If this hadn't been an ode to old Hollywood, would it have won so many awards? I doubt it, but then I'm cynical that way.

I am looking forward to The Hunger Games though. Didn't read the books (can't read present tense) but my daughter read them and LOVES them. Her excitement is infectious.

catslady said...

Originally I didn't sound so great but after hearing all the hoopla, I gave it a try. I am afraid for me my original thinking was right. Yes, it was well done but it truly didn't hold my interest.

Now the Hunger Games just has to be a hit lol.

Kathy Bacus said...

LOVED The Hunger Games books, Terri. Have promised to wait until this next weekend to see the movie when the trips are home.

Kathy Bacus said...

My daughter, Katie,went to the midnight showing of The Hunger
Games and she gave it a thumbs up, catslady. I'm rereading the first book again before the movie this weekend.