Film – The Artist (2011)
Composer – Ludovic Bource
Check it out – https://open.spotify.com/album/2EfVyyjTkeqHkTMEnj2afR
The Artist is a romantic comedy/drama released in 2011 featuring Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo. The films main draw and point of interest was its style, that being of the old 1920’s black and white silent film era, a style that had been long left in the past. The story focuses on the fall of silent movies and the rise of the ‘talkies’, with the relationship of a silent movie star and an up and coming actress at its center. The Artist became one of the number one contenders during the award season, gaining 10 Oscar nominations, winning 5 of those, one being the highest regarded award of ‘Best Picture’.
The Artist is similar in ways to the last movie soundtrack I reviewed (Gravity). As Gravity was set in space, sound was removed, therefore impacts etc had to be replaced by the soundtrack. The Artist goes further than Gravity in which background sound and dialogue is removed, therefore the soundtrack has to help portray emotion (along with facial expression), background noise and also (obviously) the actual music, which is prominent in the artist with a few musical/dancing scenes. The overall style of music in The Artist is orchestral, incorporating elements of classical, big band and the progressive storytelling composition of the silent movie era, all composed by Ludovic Bource and performed by The Brussels Philharmonic. A few pieces throughout the movie are old licensed tracks, mainly by jazz musicians such as Duke Ellington and Red Nichols, used to add a bit of groove to the dance scenes and to separate actual music that the characters are using in the movie from background music which is for the audience. The orchestral music feels truly authentic, a spot on representation of the silent movie era, featuring a mix of strings, woodwind, brass and percussion, usually assigning one instrument (saxophone, xylophone) to play the head (main melody/solos), which delivers the story of the piece of music. The only massive change this soundtrack has from the old movies is the production, of course, which is of a far higher quality, warmer and spreads the instruments out in the mix to create a larger scale.
The Artist is a fantastic movie which truly succeeds due to its soundtrack. It doesn’t just feature music that evokes emotion or fits the movie well, but music that delivers the story as much as the visuals do.