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Michel Hazanavicius: Favorite Silent Movies

Berenice Bejo Michel Hazanavicius Oscar
Bérénice Bejo, Michel Hazanavicius

Michel Hazanavicius, Bérénice Bejo Photo; Hazanavicius' Oscar 2012 Q&A Pt.1

Q. [Speaks in French ] Hollywood, next step Hollywood.

A. It's not next step. I mean, this movie brings me some opportunities to meet people and some of them propose me send scripts, or told me that they wanted to work with me. And if there's a chance to make a good movie I will do it … with honor and great pleasure because people know how to make movies here.

So, there's some beautiful actors, beautiful scriptwriters and, yes, I hope I will make a movie here once. It won't be the next one. And also, I have a wonderful producer who is French and I want to work with him again. And when you have that kind of producer you don't drop him off. You stay — you stuck to him. You stick to him. That's better I think.

Q. With the popularity The Artist and [Martin Scorsese's] Hugo, what would you say is your favorite silent film or silent films that helped guide you through the process of making the film in that era?

A. Which one of my favorite silent movies?

Q. Yeah, your personal favorite.

A. I would say, like, I don't know, maybe eight or something. It's very difficult to say one, because silent movie is not a genre, you know, that because it's just a format.

I would say that the [F.W.] Murnau's movies: the American ones Sunrise and City Girl, I think I prefer City Girl, because I think it's more simple, but both of them are really great. King Vidor's The Crowd. It's a wonderful movie. Everybody can see it. It's easy to watch.

It's very touching. It's moving picture and very modern. Tod Browning's, The Unknown … which it's a great, great covert and sexy movie set in a gypsy circus, and it's really great, a short one like one hour and ten minutes. [The Unknown exists in truncated form.] The [Frank] Borzage movies, the [Erich] von Stroheim movies, [Josef] von Sternberg movies like, Underworld and The Docks of New York. Underworld is a great, great movie. The Docks of New York is written by Ben Hecht, who wrote Scarface after that. It's a great movie. The great [inaudible] old Charlie Chaplin. You can spend a good week with that.

Q. When we talked at Cannes and then Toronto, we talked a lot about taking risks and your risk seems to have paid off. So this is a two-part question. Do you think the success tonight, The Artist, will help people take more risks, and do you think it, also, will encourage other people besides those of us who already love silent cinema to pay attention to the real history of cinema including that era?

[Continues on next page. See link below.]

Michel Hazanavicius, Bérénice Bejo photo: Matt Petit / © A.M.P.A.S.

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