Le Voyage Dans la Lune (1902)

This early silent film is repeatedly declared to be the first science fiction film and is revered as the greatest achievement of stage magician and film pioneer Georges Méliès. Lubin Manufacturing Company released another take on A Trip to the Moon in 1914, written e directed by Vincent Whitman, a work of silent animation which alas did not survive.
With a mix of stage tricks, camera tricks and several types of animation, Méliès crafts a surreal fantastic vision of the Moon with great artistic sensibility and the care of a painter. It's almost as though a painting comes to life.
Georges Méliès aimed in the film to "invert the hierarchal values of modern French society and hold them up to ridicule in a riot of the carnivalesque." (Alison McMahan).

"A Trip to the Moon" is loosely based on the books "From the Earth to the Moon" by Jules Verne and "The First Men in the Moon" by H. G. Wells, as if this whimsical fantasy really focuses on an astronomer' s dream. A group of men travel to the moon by being shot in a capsule from a giant cannon. They are captured by moon-men, escape and return to the earth.
The plot is very well-written and still captures the imagination with its wonderfully crafted visuals and its charming comedy, although it still displays a primitive understanding of narrative film technique. The editing is purely functional: the concept of showing an action twice in different ways was experimented again by Porter in his film, Life of an American Fireman, released roughly a year after A Trip to the Moon.
He used overlapping action, as a result of his desire to preserve the pro-filmic space and to emphasize important action by essentially showing it twice.
You can buy the dvds Georges Melies: First Wizard of Cinema (1896-1913) and Melies the Magician and the book Georges Melies.

No comments: