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Nostalgia Goes to the Movies

The five days succeeding Sunday evening’s 84th Academy Awards have been dominated by an influx of gratuitous Angelina leg shots. On the red carpet, photographers egged her to “give them more,” and she obliged, gratifying them with a quick and provocative, but ultimately not so worthwhile flash of skin. However, now that the dust has settled on award season, one thing truly worthwhile is the film The Artist from director Michel Hazanavicius. It was quite simply, a film from another era. Something the industry hadn’t seen in ages: a gracefully produced, gloriously funny and deeply meaningful film. The Artist blended compassionate acting with a reflective perspective on the era and its artistic expression. The decision of Hazanvicius to create something delicately beautiful, yet drastically contrary was courageous, and the film’s beauty speaks to a world that is now willing to bask in nostalgia, even if that nostalgia isn’t their own. In drawing from a time when the art of cinema was purer, Hazanvicius created a subtle piece of art that possessed a unique and truly wonderful quality.

Similarly, Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen’s madcap comedy took chronological leaps backward to a since-lost time when the creative process and the importance of creative distinction was placed on a far higher pedestal. Owen Wilson’s character, Gil romantically believes that he was destined for a different and better time, a golden age. He is disillusioned by the stinginess and transience of his generation’s artistic capacity (or lack thereof), and longs for inspiring ingenuity and magnificent quality.

We clearly enjoy the idea of harking back to (or at least drawing inspiration from) a different time. Have you enjoyed the 20s revival movement in film, television and design or do you think that Hollywood is simply trying too hard?

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