Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo, while it has a great story, is, at its core, a celebration of the history of film and filmmaking. Scorsese, a director whose love for filmmaking is unrivaled, said last year in hid Golden Globe speech, “making films and preserving them is the same thing.” Hugo educates it’s audience on all of the beautiful discoveries that have led to what we know today as the magic of filmmaking, while at the same time, telling you a tale that sweeps you up and takes you away. Hugo is the perfect mix of a story and a history lesson, only to be rivaled, possibly, by Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist.
The Artist is the first major motion picture, silent film to splash onto the American big screen in years. The film follows a famous silent movie actor and his struggle to make the transition to the new film craze, the Talkies. The Artist is a trip back in time, but with all the advancements in story telling and character development that we know today. It is not simply a remembrance of the old, but a partnership with the old, to create even a more spectacular new.
Woody Alan’s Midnight in Paris is, I believe, the most charming film of the year. The story follows a writer(Gil) who is transported by buggy car every night, back to the 1920’s in Paris. There, he is whisked away into the most thriving artistic community the world has ever know, befriending such people as, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Earnest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, Cole Porter, and Gertrude Stein. While working on his first serious novel, Gil takes what he has learned from his new, or old, friends, and applies it to his work here in the 21st century. The film is a celebration of art, the artist, the artistic community, and what we can learn from those how have come before us.
As an artist, no matter what your field may be, it is important to turn to those who have conquered your specific field before you for guidance. Knowing the history of your craft, and where it came from can only aide you in creating something absolutely breathtakingly new today. And do not worry about copying or stealing from what is old, it is about partnering with the old, to create and ever more spectacular new.