"The Artist," the mostly silent film that has acquired numerous award nominations in recent weeks and is considered an Oscar front-runner, is being positioned as a concert attraction.
William Morris Endeavor, which represents composer Ludovic Bource, and the film's distributor the Weinstein Co. are exploring opportunities to screen the film with a live orchestra accompanying the picture. Performances in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Brussels, London and Geneva are on the short list of stops; a performance in Australia is also being solicited. The composer says he has passed on three projects while preparing for the potential tour.
"The Artist," directed by Michel Hazanavicius and starring Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo and John Goodman, opened in the United States Nov. 25 and is playing in limited release (17 theaters). Having played France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, it has a worldwide gross of nearly $15 million, according to figures compiled by boxofficemojo.com.
While featuring French talent, the story is set in Hollywood as the silent movies were giving way to the talkies. Besides three recordings from the '20s, the only sound heard in most of the film is the score from Bource, who also scored Hazanavicius' "OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies" and "OSS 117 - Lost in Rio."
Bource's score, which won a European Film Award, is nominated for a Golden Globe and Broadcast Film Critics Award. New York Film Critics Circle, New York Film Critics Online and the Boston Society of Film Critics have named "The Artist" best picture of the year.
Inspired by F.W. Murnau's "Tabu: A Story of the South Seas" and "Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans," movies by Ernst Lubistch and scores by Alfred Newman, Bource turned to Brahms and an 19th century text for his initial inspiration.
"What was missing," Bource told billboard.biz through a translator, "was a thread, an emotional throughline in the screenplay. I went looking for a text that expressed the dignity, love and simplicity that (the characters) George and Peppy express. By chance --- by miracle - I found (German poet) Hans von Schmidt's 'Sapphisce Ode,' which was set to music by Brahms. By listening to words, the principal theme emerged. The last words in the text are 'shed the dew of tears.' We used that for a title on a track in the film, 'The Sound of Tears.'"