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Does BAFTA Sweep Signal a Silent Film Revival? Don't Count on It

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It seems the UK film industry, despite good box office takings, is still in such bad shape it's apparently pushing for a revival of silent movies as a way of minimizing costs.

The stylish French silent film The Artist just about swept every major award Sunday at London's annual BAFTA ceremony, seven in-all. This included best film and amazingly even best screenplay, which is saying something for a silent movie with a plot that's as trite and old as a dozen Depression Era flicks.

Having covered several BAFTAs in past years I had great respect for their credibility against the more political US Oscars. But after this I'm having a rethink.

I think what may be happening with The Artist is that few people alive today have ever seen full-length silent movies. And how many people even can recall seeing Laurel and Hardy's early silent one-reelers? The Brits sensing the French may have hit on something as tasty as ripe Brie, may attempt a silent revival. You see, silent films are a lot cheaper to make, too..

The Artist is so different from the usual assembly of mindless rom/coms and comic book super hero flicks its comes as a welcome relief to some... but not that many. The film's box office so far isn't anything about which to write home.

Unless the BAFTA haul and possible Oscar wins, next week in Hollywood, don't boost the ticket sales, I wouldn't count on a silent revival.

The story is one of a silent film star's fall in the wake of sound movies and of the love he gains from a young admirer who winds up where he once was as a major film star.

The Artist is okay if you want to see a stylish black and white silent film set in Hollywood of the late 1920s. And I admit I enjoyed it, aside from the plot which most people know by heart. But, I wouldn't make a habit of mime movies. Personally, I have long been hooked on sound and colour. But most of all, I like good original screenplays, not rehashed old scripts.