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Santa Barbara Film Festival to honor 'The Artist' stars

December 6, 2011 |  6:08 pm

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will honor the French stars of “The Artist” -- Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo -- with the Cinema Vanguard Award to be presented on Feb. 4. As part of the tribute, the fest will host a special screening of the silent film at the historic Arlington Theatre with its music score played on the theater’s “Wonder-Morton” organ.

Previous Vanguard Award winners include Nicole Kidman, Christoph Waltz and Ryan Gosling.

Said SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling, “In an age of sight and sound spectacle, there is great risk in a silent film. Jean and Berenice’s acting is an amazing pas-des-deux both physically and emotionally -– recalling classic Hollywood pairings like Hepburn and Tracy, and of course indelibly Ginger and Fred.”

The 27th annual festival will run from Jan. 26 – Feb. 5. The award by the SBIFF adds to the recent run of accolades the silent film has already accrued, including top honors bestowed by the New York Film critics.

The movie, directed by Michel Hazanavicius, bowed in limited release on Thanksgiving weekend.

"We are grateful to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival for this incredible honor,"  Dujardin said. "Delivering a silent film to the 21st century is not easy task and it would have in no way been possible without the talent and dedication of the incredible ensemble of actors we had the pleasure of working with: James Cromwell, John Goodman, Penelope Anne Miller, Missi Pyle and Malcolm McDowell. This award is just as much for them as it is for us."


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New York critics name 'The Artist' best film of the year

--Nicole Sperling

 Photo: Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo star in "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.