The silent film The Artist stole the show at the 2012 Oscars. Not to mention a handful of Baftas from this side of the pond’s award ceremonies.
So at least it appears judges can still be wowed by something wildly imaginative and completely unique.
Why is it then so many of the cinema-going public are put off by seeing something that does not follow a formula they have already seen hundreds of times? Or, God forbid, is in a foreign language?
Apparently people do not want to be surprised when they go to the cinema as depressingly every week the same old tired Hollywood sludge – Twilight springs to mind – cashes in at the box office, leaving more interesting fare by the wayside.
The courage of the film-makers to have enough faith in The Artist’s story to hold an audience’s attention for 100 minutes – despite being almost completely bereft of any dialogue, or colour for that matter – is astounding.
The film is captivating from start to finish thanks to the impeccable performances from the film’s two leads who say more through gestures and facial expressions than pages of dialogue could from your average Hollywood rom-com.
If film-goers were not so daunted by a film that does not begin with a car chase or have an explosion every ten minutes to keep them awake, they might find themselves pleasantly surprised. It may come as a shock to learn that not every film is a product of Tinseltown.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the obligatory summer blockbuster as much as the next guy: sometimes going to the cinema can be a great excuse to switch off your brain for a couple of hours and have your senses assaulted by the latest sound and special effects.
However, when this is all you see, then you fail to know what cinema is actually capable of and are depriving yourself of a fresh and original experience.
With the massive amount of awards and critical praise being given to The Artist, people are finally starting to stand up and take notice of this unconventional film.
The problem is that so many other interesting foreign and independent productions go unnoticed because people think that the lack of Hollywood sheen is a turn-off.
These are attitudes that need to be reassessed so our film-makers do not assume that a big star or special effects can be used as a substitute for telling a great story.