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SXSW Film 2013

“The Artist” and the Value of Visual Storytelling

Popular cinema has come to be dominated by comic raunch, torture porn, and CGI explosions. That makes the recent success of “The Artist” (grossing over $133 million worldwide and winning five Oscars) all the more surprising. Was it the novelty of the silent form that drew in its audience, creating nostalgia for a golden day-gone-by? (After all, the very few modern silent films made tend to be period pieces, using the form to convey authenticity.) Or is there something about the engagement of the visual story, demanding more active participation of the audience, which made “The Artist” more deeply affecting? Could a greater appreciation of silence and the role of the audience in filmic storytelling make cinema more satisfying and imaginative?

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  1. Has film become a “lazy” art?
  2. Do we pay more attention to silent films?
  3. How does a film’s score relate to the non-verbal narrative?
  4. What is the relation between reading a book and reading a film?
  5. How do video games use visual narrative and silent film techniques to advance their narratives, and could they do even more?



Tim Sheridan, Creative Director, Razorfish

Meta Information:

  • Tags: filmmaking
  • Event: Film
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Film Criticism
  • Level: Intermediate
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