Hollywood 1927. George Valentin is a silent movie superstar. The advent of the talkies will sound the death knell for his career and see him fall into oblivion. For young extra Peppy Miller, it seems the sky’s the limit – major movie stardom awaits.

Director's Statement

Right at the beginning, seven or eight years ago, I fantasised about making a silent film. Probably because the great mythical directors I admire most all come from silent cinema ... Hitchcock, Lang, Ford, Lubitsch, Murnau, Billy Wilder (as screenwriter) ... But mainly because as a director it makes you face your responsibilities, it makes you tell the story in a very special way. It’s not up to the screenwriter, nor to the actors, to tell the story – it really is up to the director. In this genre everything is in the image, in the organisation of the signals you’re sending to the audience. And it’s an emotional cinema, it’s sensorial; the fact that you don’t go through a text brings you back to a basic way of telling a story that only works on the feelings you have created. It’s a fascinating way to work. I thought it would be a magnificent challenge and that if I could manage it, it would be very rewarding. If I said it was a fantasy more than a desire, it’s because each time I mentioned it I’d only get an amused reaction – no one took this seriously. Then the success of the two “OSS” films changed the way people reacted to: “I want to make a silent film.” It wasn’t perceived in quite the same way. But above all, Thomas Langmann is not a producer like others. He didn’t only take what I said seriously, I saw in his eyes that he believed in it. It’s thanks to him that this film became possible. It was no longer a fantasy, but a project. I could start working. I told him I would look for a story, that as soon as I’d found it and it seemed to work, I’d come back and see him ...

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius

Written by: Michel Hazanavicius

Produced by: Emmanuel Montamat, Thomas Langmann

Cinematography: Guillaume Schiffman

Editing: Anne Sophie Bion, Michel Hazanavicius

Production Design: Laurence Bennett

Original Score: Ludovic Bource

Cast: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, James Cromwell, John Goodman

Nominations and Awards

  • European Composer 2011
  • European Film 2011
  • European Actor 2011
  • European Cinematographer – Prix Carlo Di Palma 2011
  • People's Choice Award 2012
  • Feature Film Selection 2011