The Artist script
The Artist (2011)
Synopsis: In the 1920s, actor George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a bona fide matinee idol with many adoring fans. While working on his latest film, George finds himself falling in love with an ingenue named Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) and, what's more, it seems Peppy feels the same way. But George is reluctant to cheat on his wife with the beautiful young actress. The growing popularity of sound in movies further separates the potential lovers, as George's career begins to fade while Peppy's star rises.

1 TITLES 1

The letters of the titles come up on a title card typical of

the 1920s. Elegant motifs around the edge of the frame, and,

in the background, there are geometrical shapes reminiscent

of the light beams of a film premi.re. Behind is a stylized

town. The titles end in a fade to black. On black, the date

appears on the screen: 1927

2 INT. LABORATORY - DAY 2

In a "futuristic" 1920s laboratory, a man in tail coat and

bow tie is being tortured. Ultrasound is being piped into his

ears. It's incredibly painful! He's screaming.

Title card:

I’m not telling! I won’t talk!!!

His torturers, cold men of science in white coats, gradually

increase the volume. The pain seems unbearable, the volume

reaches level 10 (maximum), the man passes out!

3 INT. CELLS & CORRIDORS - DAY 3

Guards wearing long leather overcoats throw the man into a

cell!

As the man is lying there on the ground, a dog wiggles

through the bars at the window. The dog, a Jack Russell,

jumps on top of the man - visibly his master - and begins to

lick his face. The man opens one eye! When he sees his dog,

he can't help cracking a smile...

The man, now on his feet, looks in pain. Despite the pain, he

motions to his dog who begins to bark in lively fashion.

Outside the cell, the guard looks curious about the noise. He

goes to the door, opens the spy flap and finds himself face

to face with the man, eye to eye just a couple of inches

apart! The man moves his eyes in such a way that he

hypnotizes the guard! Superimposed on the screen: a spinning

black and white spiral, until the dazed guard take his keys,

opens the door and releases the man and his dog.

2.

The man (the hero, thus) imprisons the guard without harming

him, then runs over to the guard's desk. His ears are still

causing him pain, but he opens a drawer and takes out his

belongings:
a top hat which he snaps open, and a mask, which

he puts over his head to conceal his eyes.

We catch up with the masked man walking down corridors. He

suddenly stops, copied by his dog who follows him like his

shadow. The man, on his guard, has spotted another guard

where two corridors meet.

With a look, he orders his dog to move forwards into the

guard's line of sight. The guard looks over at the animal.

Using his fingers, the hero pretends to shoot his dog. The

dog collapses, plays dead. The guard, increasingly curious,

gets to his feet. He slowly approaches the motionless dog.

When he comes close he is attacked from the side by the hero,

who quickly puts him out of action with a mere punch!

The masked man then rushes to another cell, and releases a

young female prisoner. She too is wearing evening dress. As

she is thanking him he staggers and clutches his ears in

pain. She's concerned.

Title card:

Can I help you in some way?

He refuses.

Title card:

No. I don’t get helped. I give the help around here.

He composes himself. She casts him an admiring glance. Then,

in view of the urgency of their situation, they escape at a

run.

4 EXT. HOUSE/LABORATORY - DAY 4

They come out of a house that is lost in the hills, climb

into a Bugatti sports car that the man starts by rubbing two

wires together, and speed off.

5 EXT. ROAD - DAY 5

The car speeds along the road. Its occupants turn round to

check they aren't being followed.

3.

6 INT. HOUSE/LAB - DAY 6

The guard who got knocked out picks himself up, realizes what's

happened and dashes over to his office. He grabs a radio

emitter and begins sending a message.

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Michel Hazanavicius

Michel Hazanavicius is a French film director, producer, screenwriter and film editor best known for his 2011 film, The Artist, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 84th Academy Awards. more…

All Michel Hazanavicius scripts | Michel Hazanavicius Books

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