The silent film star?

by Neil Thomas
March 2nd, 2012

It has been fun to see the French makers and stars of The Artist celebrating their film awards and – in their deserved triumph – making sly digs at one and all in the English language film world.

For Jean Dujardin as Best Actor, it has all been a bit too much, perhaps. After making a Buster Keaton, fixed face (and silent) ‘statement’, at the BAFTAs, he was clearly heard uttering the French expletive ‘putain’ when he was announced the Oscar winner in his category.

Now, ‘putain’ means ‘bloody hell’ as an expletive, but it also means ‘whore’. Unfortunately, he did not merely mouth this word in the style of his victorious role (which would have been funny and ironic) but he declaimed it – discovering the perils of talkies at, you could say, the very wrong moment (maybe even more ironic, come to think of it!)

President Sarkozy and the French film world see the film’s success as potentially leading to more foreign interest in French cinema. And why not indeed? Especially in Russia, of course, where the expletive uttered by M Dujardin could be understood by Russians to be an oath of loyalty to the current Prime Minister and future returning President himself?

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