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May 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Michel Hazanavicius’s The Search drew mixed reviews after it was screened at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday. A gritty, often violent film that interweaves the story of a Russian soldier with that of a family torn apart during the conflict, the film bears no resemblance in tone or subject matter to The Artist, Hazanavicius’s previous film, which premiered at Cannes in 2011 and went on to receive 10 Oscar nominations and five wins, including best film. But at a news conference following the screening the director made it plain that without the success of The Artist, he would not have been able to make The Search. “Of course you’re entitled to make a film about the Chechen war, but what kind of film, what kind of budget will you get?” he remarked. “After The Artist, I was in a very odd situation. I had made a film that didn’t conform to what the market is supposed to do and it made a lot of money. I could do almost any film I wanted to do and I thought, ‘This is a good time to do a film on Chechnya.’ If I had made The Artist 2, I would have been under pressure, because people would compare it to what I did before. In this case, I don’t have to worry.” In fact, some critics did indeed compare the two films, noting that both included a heavy measure of sentimentality, but while that ingredient worked wonders in The Artist, it disintegrated into schmaltz for The Search.