It's been over two years since we both cried in the Movies (apart from when we saw the price of the hot dogs at Vue) but yesterday's showing of The Artist at FACT in Liverpool had us both reaching for the tissues once again. But this time, instead of being emotionally drained as were when we went to see Pixar's Up in October 2009, Michel Hazanavicius' movie brought tears of joy and delight. When the trailers to this film started cropping up a few months ago I was puzzled; were the cinema really trying to sell us a silent movie in black and white? - Never; not my cup of tea. And yet, as the reviews and the plaudits for the film started to roll in it was clear that that was precisely what we were being sold.
So much has already been written about the film (and I see that I am not even original in my "tears of joy" comment as the film's newspaper advertising carries a similar quote) that it's difficult for me to add to it. Suffice to say, you will find very few films that bring tears of joy but from the opening scene at the Premier of George Valentin's silent action picture in which Jean Dujardin silently shows more about Valetin's character than most actors achieve in an hour on screen, the film simply oozes charm and this viewer was hooked. The film charts the downfall of the silent movie and its stars through the introduction of the talkies. In a world that contains so much unpleasantness - today's news has soldiers urinating on corpses for God's sake - The Artist is a breath of fresh air that is funny, dramatic, happy and sad. It's a love story that's as old as the hills but what's wrong with that? There are strong supporting performances from John Goodman as the movie mogul, James Cromwell as the old retainer and Berenice Bejo as the young film star but it is Dujardin who steals the show and, although initially I thought it was a joke when I heard that he was being suggested for an Oscar, having now seen the film, I would be surprised if anybody else is in the running. If you only see one film this winter, make sure that you see this. And if you don't love it, you've got no heart.
While we were at FACT we had a look at their fascinating Republic Of The Moon exhibition and saw Martin Scorcese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. This was another love story. It had a slightly harder edge than The Artist but was enjoyable and had a great cameo from Jodie Foster before her Taxi Driver fame.
Continuing the day's arty feel we walked a few yards down the road from FACT to have a look at the new artwork that was initially being hailed as Liverpool's new Banksy but is now suggested to be by street artists Mustard Tiger. I'm not sure that Banksy would put his work on a few flimsy plywood panels and no I'm not going to make any snide remarks about it being in Liverpool.
As a change from our usual trip to Salt House Tapas we tried Leaf in Bold St for a late lunch/early dinner. It's our first visit but it won't be our last. Very impressed. Very friendly nice food, good choice, lively atmosphere and I see that they're holding a writer's workshop in a week or two. Would be interested but we'll be in Scotland. May try another time.