A couple of years ago I went away on a friend’s hen weekend to a fabulous (but terribly cold) cottage right out in Rural Derbyshire (as in even more rural than where I grew up). We had a brilliant time: plenty of yummy food, lots of knitting, occasional pottering out and wine. A particular highlight, however, involved one of my friends unearthing an aged Point Horror book from one of the shelves and the ensuing dramatic readings aloud from said book – certain of my friends appear to have a flair for reading aloud in capslock. “NO,” she screamed silently. Oh Point Horror…
There is a point to my rambling, honestly! Last night I went to the old Kino to see The Artist. Essentially I am going to suggest most firmly that you all go to see it too.
I was mildly worried that it wouldn’t hold my (incredibly short) attention (span) but it did and, oh my, it was amazing. I laughed quite hard at a lot of it, I came incredibly close to crying (only not doing so because I remembered my mascara wasn’t waterproof, honestly self!) and there were moments when my heart was in my mouth. It occurred to me, vaguely, that I’d never actually seen a silent film the whole way through.
Then I got thinking about it, there’s a lot of similarities between the medium of silent film and ballet (ahh, and there you all were thinking I’d forgotten about blogging about ballet, as if!). They’re both carried by the music and an ability of the performers to get the message across in their body language and facial expressions. Okay, so silent movies occasionally get the lines flashing up on the screen (in “NO,” she screamed silently fashion à la Point Horror) and I can’t help but think that having someone stand on the side of the stage with a card (“NO,” Juliet screamed, clutching Romeo’s still form) would detract a little from it. Anyway, I digress.
Silent movies, ballet they’re both ways of telling a story without words. I often say words can be surplus to requirements, point taken. There’s a spectacular ‘mad scene’ in The Artist (I won’t say too much, “spoilers!” as River Song would say) which I can’t help but compare with the one in Giselle. It’s that moment of being able to convey so many emotions in such a powerful fashion but without using any words to do so and yet being able to understand perfectly how the characters are feeling.
Thinking about it, I’d love to see a silent movie-esque ballet with someone standing on the edge of the stage with the ‘speech cards’. Much as I love a good plotless abstract ballet, you can’t beat a proper story ballet with ALL THE DRAMZ. Maybe best not to butcher something existing, I can’t help but feel it would detract from say Rom&Jul or Mayerling. Maybe a specially choreographed piece? Someone should get on that.
I’d urge you all to see The Artist at your earliest convenience and I defy you not to leave feeling all happy on the inside. The acting is amazing and so is the soundtrack (which I need in my ears pretty much immediately). And on that note, rambling, I shall stop it.