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February 16, 2012

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Shawn Stone

The initial charm of The Artist started wearing off relatively quickly with the lack of titles. A fundamental mistake--you gotta be a Lubitsch or Murnau, two masters who were particularly adept at working around using titles--to get away with so few. For me, it went downhill from there.

J. Priest

"On the other hand, I was totally underwhelmed by several movies you did enjoy this year...I thought Hugo was overlong, unnecessarily melodramatic and trite, and not moving, despite its visual a
achievements..."

Wow, I couldn't disagree more about this one. Both THE ARTIST and HUGO dealt with characters who lost their careers in the silent era (one to technology, another to changing trends), but unlike THE ARTIST, I thought HUGO was far more moving in the way it portrayed that sense of loss. I wouldn't be surprised if Scorsese drew more from his own experience than historical research. (Scorsese was close to many filmmakers who suffered a similar fate, and his own career had a few close calls as well.)

It's heartbreaking to see an artist like Méliès invest their life into their work, only to have neglect and poverty twist their passion into pain and bitterness, but it's even more moving to see him witness how his work has left such a long, deep impression among a few individuals - he hasn't been completely forgotten, but it's hardly a joyful experience either. It's just more painful for him because it stirs up a greater sense of loss.

I thought THE ARTIST did all right in showing Valentin's disintegrating career, but it did it with broader strokes and relied on a lot of familiar tropes. HUGO felt a lot more raw, a lot more honest, and for that reason, it carried a lot more weight for me.

Sarah

"It's heartbreaking to see an artist like Méliès invest their life into their work, only to have neglect and poverty twist their passion into pain and bitterness, but it's even more moving to see him witness how his work has left such a long, deep impression among a few individuals - he hasn't been completely forgotten, but it's hardly a joyful experience either. It's just more painful for him because it stirs up a greater sense of loss."

The way you describe it here makes it sound profound indeed. I only watched it once, and perhaps a second time would prove better; I didn't hate Hugo, just thought it was kind of mediocre in terms of the execution, rather than the story it was trying to tell. By your description, though, I intend to give it another chance.

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