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Oscars for “The Artist”: When the voiceless American people is crying for help

Bruno Paul

The Artist aux Oscars : Quand le peuple Américain aphone nous crie au secours

These historic wins of five Oscars for a foreign movie can be interpreted in several ways. But
the overseas success of The Artist is an expression of a cry for help from America. Will we get time, like Bérénice, when George sinks amid the smoking ruins of his life? This is not just a matter of time. This is also for George to be able to recognize that he can be helped, and to express it. .The chance Thomas Langmann had was to foster this cultural mix at the right historical moment. The fact that the initiative comes from Europeans is not a surprise: it is the role of idea creation and implementation of joint projects that we can lead better than anyone. An editorial by Bruno Paul

These historic wins of five Oscars for a foreign movie (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Music, Best Costume Design) can be interpreted in several ways:

First it is recognizing a work of great artistic quality, for each winner but also of the whole team (including the great Berenice Bejo). The “mise en abyme” of the film talking about films that don’t speak, a silent film actor who isolates himself in his silence, the nightmare of a loud world deprived of voice, the choice to make between a world of noise or a world of grins, all this you did anyone notice.

Some people may then present the Oscars as a sign of sovereignty asserted of American culture on French cinema, a film where the number of French is kept to a strict minimum, shot in Hollywood, and only speaking about the white triumphant America of the twenties that ignores to reward more generously the necessary introspection on their own recent history with the film “The Help“. No, we are not of them.

For our part, we wanted to see in the overseas success of The Artist as an expression of a cry for help from America. How, indeed, ignore the allegory that the scenario proposes to us, the parallel it offers namely:

• between
the American people and George Valentine, the height of his fame in the world before and his refusal until it is too late to admit the evidence of the emergence of new rules of the “world after the crisis” whose he is nevertheless one of the first
witness ?
• between the media wars of perdition of the United States since 2001 and the last scene of the last movie of a star in decline shooting himself bogged down in quicksand, resigned to his fate?
• between the American psyche of the 2008 crisis and the fate of George sweeped away in the storm of the 1929?
• between the extras from “the world before and the BRICS countries symbolized by the Argentinian Bénérice Bejo, newly pictured at the top ?
• between a deafening, cacophonous America that no one listens anymore in the world, and the nightmare of George Valentin in which manifold women just like Berenice overpass chuckling on his hebetude shape?
•  between the steady degradation of the US society and  the relentless descent into hell of a star trapped in a historic crisis and his foolish pride, that has found no end to its obsolescence, if not in solitude and flee, and sees all his possessions acquired by his young rival?

 

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi. But then?

Yet, Berenice loves George, and is constantly trying to help him the best she can, without imposing herself. We love the American people. Will we also get time, when George sinks amid the smoking ruins of his life? But this is not just a matter of time. This is also for George to be able to recognize that he can be helped, and to express it, to dare to speak, and act in concert. The chance Thomas Langmann had was to foster this cultural mix at the right historical moment. Fortune favors the bold, but the fact that the initiative comes from Europeans is not a surprise: it is the role of idea creation and implementation of joint projects that we can lead better than anyone. What started in the field of Arts and Letters, including new international relations, must extend to all other fields. The American people will ask more of this new culture replacing advantageously the idolatry of the “War Horses”. And we will have to answer too, as the last words of The Artist: “With pleasure.”

Today, the Academy of American Artists, by awarding the Oscars, really sends us  this call for help, in a voice that is not dumb, but voiceless. And it is this new political stance, at odds with that of the United States government, which is also expressed in the Oscar for the best foreign film awarded to an Iranian movie “Jodaeiye Nader az Simin, A Separation“.

Bruno Paul
his bloig: conscience-sociale

The Artist aux Oscars : Quand le peuple Américain aphone nous crie au secours


Links: 
Full cast and crew for The Artist
The Help
Transatlantic Conference: Which Transatlantic Relationship After the Global Crisis?
Jodaeiye Nader az Simin, A Separation