Storytelling Tricks of Silent Film From the Director of 'The Artist'

Michel Hazanavicius demonstrates how to tell a good story, sans dialogue.

Michel Hazanavicius and his film, The Artist, cleaned up at the Academy Awards, taking home five Oscars including Best Film and Best Director, proving that even a mainstream audience can appreciate a movie without dialogue. In this short documentary by Joe LaMattina, Hazanavicius demonstrates some of the ways he created drama and a compelling narrative, relying on visual detail, editing juxtapositions, and of course, an adorable little dog. 

The director spoke at length about the challenges of making The Artist in an interview with The Atlantic:

In a way, you have a lot of limitations because you don't have access to too much complex story, because you don't have dialogue. In another way it's very freeing, because it allows you to use imagination that usually you don't use and you wouldn't dare use. The fact is, it's so unrealistic, to show people that talk and you can't hear them [and] they're in black and white. You don't ape reality, you create a show that is a show and knows it's a show.

Read the full interview in "The Director of 'The Artist' on How to Make a Modern Silent Film."

For more films by Joe LaMattina, visit his Vimeo Page

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

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