Drawing: Berenice Bejo

Berenice Bejo

It was a little known black and white French film, shot on an old fashioned 1.33:1 ratio, mostly silent with a running time of only 100 minutes and featuring the director’s wife in a lead role, but THE ARTIST was the big winner in 2011, collecting every major Best Picture award including the 5 Oscars and 7 BAFTAs.

Michel Hazanavicius’ celebrated tribute to the early era of motion pictures starred Jean Dujardin as the silent movie star who meets a young dancer, French Argentine actress Berenice Bejo as the advent of talking pictures sends their careers in opposite directions. The film had a small screening at the BFI London Film Festival and given the title I just had to pop along where a relatively small crowd had gathered so I able to meet everyone without the usual collecting carnage. Then it became a huge hit.

When it later returned to London for the actual Premiere, the normal battle zone resumed. l drew this sketch of Berenice to get signed on the day, but mailed it to her Paris agency instead, which she signed and dedicated for me.