"They did the Méliès stuff so beautifully [in 'Hugo']," Joyce suggests, "and that's when I realized that we were on the same wavelength in revering the past and revering the filmmaking of the past with using miniatures and the Fleischer brothers and the way they did their miniature work on their Popeye cartoons.
"There's something pure and innocent and hand-crafted about that that seems so direct and strong. It's just so strange how it's all come together this same year. And then The Artist comes out of nowhere. When I saw it -- [my partner] Brandon [Oldenburg] and I had studied the silent films when working on 'Morris' so intensely and really learned the language of the pantomime and the camera setups and all that stuff. And, my god, these guys have absorbed all the same stuff and it just felt strange like the zeitgeist had this undercurrent for everybody."
"And for both 'Hugo' and 'The Artist,' I thought they totally tapped into the thing that made them brilliant and emotional to begin with. And so form became function in a way, but it was completely true to the storytelling experience and that's rare. And it amplified the content. I think shot for shot, The Artist is probably the most thoroughly thought-out film I've seen in a really long time."
"I don't hear many urban myths these days, or jokes," Orchard laments. "Usually someone has seen something funny as opposed to heard something funny. So if you're at a pub people will be watching stuff on their mobile phones that make them laugh. I like urban myths; they're like fairy tales for adults. They're compelling and funny and you're never too sure whether to believe them or not.
Then there's "Midnight in Paris," and how Woody Allen nostalgically transports us back in time to a more glam and romantic City of Lights yet all the while cautions us against being nostalgic. But, ironically, it's his most commercially successful film to date, leaving us with a longing for Woody at his best.
But getting back to "Morris Lessmore," "Hugo, and "The Artist," perhaps their greatest legacy will be their educational value in inspiring the next generation of storytellers. This certainly took "Hugo's" visual effects supervisor Rob Legato by surprise.
"I was talking recently with someone who brought their six-year-old and he said that when his son got home he got on the internet and researched all the movies that were referenced in the movie and now has a greater appreciation for Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin," Legato relates. "And it opened the window to the past for someone to enjoy as it was enjoyed back then in the day. And I thought that's a wonderful by-product of what we did, which is: revere the people who came before us for their talent and originality and expose it once again to a new generation. And the kids who saw this movie really enjoyed watching the films of Méliès in the middle of this film: the imagination, the painted backdrops, the colorful costumes, and the outlandish action. They had never seen anything like it before and just responded to the pure imagination, which was very heartening. I'm not sure I would've predicted that, but they did."
Something to think about Sunday night…