Prestigious film awards are often a kiss of death. After all the commotion and red-carpet moments of glory, the winners may fade away or become the victims of attacks launched by the media. Such is the case with Michel Hazanavicius, who bagged a totally-out-of-left-field Oscar for best director in 2012 for his silent film “The Artist.” What crashing applause. What sighs of awe. With “The Artist,” Hazanavicius revived both monochrome visuals and the use of a silent soundtrack, and the world was taken aback at the film’s elegant graciousness And then opinions changed.

Hazanavicius’ latest film, “The Search,” was lambasted in Europe and the U.S. as a confusing, sprawling train wreck of a follow-up to his magnum opus. No doubt “The Artist” set the bar high for the filmmaker, but the hatred feels unjustified considering that “The Search” is a tremendously earnest and ambitious effort by Hazanavicius to wrench himself out of his comfort zone and go out on a shaky limb.

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