Lights. Camera. Action. The thrilling feel of the beginning of a movie.
I just finished watching The Artist tonight, presented on my school’s campus for a French film festival. It was enjoyable as always. But today I had the pleasure of really examining this film from the perspective of what I’ve been learning about in my writing class. It’s a film about change.
For those who haven’t seen this movie (I really would recommend it) I will summarize. The story is a silent black and white film that was made in 2011. It follows the life of an older actor who goes out of popularity when talking movies come to the forefront of the movie industry.
It is a charming and lovely film, done in an inovative and original way, but the message really is something that can capture attention. Things change. One of the major problems for George Valentin, the protagonist, is that he refuses to accept that the world moves on and comes to accept new ideas or means of communication. He clings tightly to the forms of the past and in doing so dooms his career.
In my writing class we have recently been talking about the demise of the traditional novel. With so much technology available it is hard to see the novel continuing on in the same form it has. Just as with talkies replacing silent films, e-books may one day kill off paper copies.
E-books, blogs, online journals. The future of writing and publishing has changed. There are so many new possibilities for writers. So many new markets and new chances. And so many new things to get used to. So many changes, and so many people wondering what will come next.
In my opinion the book will never entirely die out. It of course will change forms and mostly be used on Kindles and other portable devices, but unless we burn all our existing copies, there will still be some actual hardcover books (thank goodness!). Just as with other things in our past, the regular medium will change, but the art lives on.
That is one of the main points of The Artist. Even though silent films die out, the art is not lost. It has simply changed slightly. We still have plays even though movies are widely available. Some people still keep vinyl, even if they could easily buy a CD or download off the internet. I enjoyed watching some old VHS movies while I was home for spring break. The Artist shows that even silent movies have still been made in spite of changes.
The book won’t entirely disappear. It will just become less popular. Have hope. As a writer you still can be published. It might just be read from the technological world instead.
In the words of Peppy Miller, the female star of The Artist: “Out with the old, in with the new! That’s life!”