The artist’s breakfast

Hollywood 1927

After a successful opening night, brand new actor George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) prepares to have breakfast in a silk robe sharing a table with his wife (Penelope Ann Miller) who reads the Variety. The opening of the typical breakfast scene shows us the headline of the newspaper: Who’s that girl? behind a picture of the gallant together with an unknown aspiring actress who provokes the suspicions of the wife. The publication becomes a kind of harbinger and we anticipate the rise of the anonymous artist, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), who will become a sound film star in the face of the fall of the mythical silent film actor.

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he Hollywood breakfast liturgy of the great stars is presented as a territory where one can discern marital relationships in the light of day in front of the artifice of the red carpet. As writer Gabriel García Márquez said, the problem with marriage is that it ends every night and must be rebuilt every morning before breakfast. The protagonist of the film, converted into a hybrid between Douglas Fairbanks, Max Linder and Rodolfo Valentino, knows the lesson well and tries to iron out the matter in a delicious humorous gag with his inseparable Jack Russel and ice cream. Later, the film returns to the breakfast scene to mark the evolution of the conjugal relationship in a clear nod to Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941).

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he film directed by the French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius becomes a tribute to the Hollywood of the 1920s and perfectly shows the myth-making mechanism of the star system. Glamorous lives, premieres, big parties, luxurious mansions… projected on the morning newspapers.  Edgan Morin in his work “Les Stars” perfectly defined the condition of mythological heroines/heroes of the performers whose most powerful weapon is love as a device of divinization.

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n fact, it will be Peppy Miller, in an inversion of the classic roles, who through love will rescue George Valentin from Hades to become the new star protagonists of cinema. And of course, the new couple’s breakfast scene, this time in bed. As Rita Hayworth said, another great myth of Hollywood Olympus:

Who wouldn’t prefer having breakfast in bed to getting up at the crack of dawn and having a cup of coffee in a studio makeup department?

text

Fran Ruvira

@franruvira

text & illustration

Vincent Moustache

@vincentmoustache

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