The new silent film, “The Artist,” recently received nominations in all main awards categories for the 2012 Oscars.
A tribute to American silent films, it’s also a nod to early French films such as “The Prince” and the work of the Lumière brothers in the late 1800s.
The success of a black-and-white film - and a silent one, at that – is of great delight to lovers of genealogy and history.
“The Artist” focuses on the upheavals produced by the arrival, in 1927, of talking pictures, The film takes us traveling through time during and after the screening.
The film’s haunting music also leads us to think of family members who may have experienced in person that golden age of silent films. What was it like to discover – in wonder and enthusiasm - the magic of those first moving images on the big screen?
For me, as I savored each frame of film with great joy, I began to think of my immediate family who lived during that time.
The day after I saw it, I called my two grandmothers, ages 87 and 97, to ask them some questions.
What was the first film they had seen? What year was that? In which cinema? What do they remember about it?
The answers were not as important as the fact that we had something of interest in common that we could now discuss with equal passion.
Have you seen the film? Did it carry you back in time and did it make you think of how wonderful it must have been for your family members who may have seen those early productions?
We look forward to reading your comments.