The Extraordinary Voyage + A Trip To The Moon

(Le Voyage extraordinaire + Le voyage dans la lune)

Must-See Cinema!

Poster art for The Extraordinary Voyage + A Trip To The MoonAn integral chapter in film history is revived in The Extraordinary Voyage. Serge Bromberg and Éric Lange’s enthralling documentary about the life and work of cinema pioneer Georges Méliès also tells the story of their painstaking and miraculous restoration of one of his most famous films, A Trip To The Moon, released in 1902.

Méliès was a central figure in the dawn of cinema. As depicted in Hugo, the director-to-be was at the first public film screening by the Lumière brothers in 1895. He went on to make his own movies in 1896, building his own production studio, a barn made of windows to let in maximum light. He made his own sets and costumes in the morning, shot during the afternoon, and churned out an array of wonderfully creative films until changing times led to his eventual fall from grace.

His studio closed in 1913, and after being forced to sell his property, Méliès burnt all his films, swore off his past and lived in anonymity, running a toy store in the Gare de Montparnasse.

The Extraordinary Voyage recounts all this and more, and features interviews with film industry types including Tom Hanks, Costa-Gavras and Michel Hazanavicius. We learn that only some 200 of Méliès’s 500 films have been recovered, and that time is of the essence as remaining copies are disintegrating with each passing day.

Based on a Jules Verne novel, A Trip To The Moon was the first sci-fi movie, a short lark about a crew of wizard-astronauts who travel to the moon and back. Its iconic image of the man in the moon getting a rocket in the eye is known the world over – much like the film, which was a smash at the box office.

The painstaking restore film was used by Scorsese in Hugo, and can now be enjoyed in its entirety as it is shown in a double-bill with The Extraordinary Voyage. And what a treat to see this kooky little tale, complete with frolicking druids, dancing girls, aliens and a modern soundtrack by French electro act Air – and to learn the fascinating story behind it.

– T’cha Dunlevy, The Montréal Gazette

A l’occasion du 150e anniversaire de la naissance de Georges Méliès, Le Voyage extraordinaire retrace les grandes étapes de la vie et de l’œuvre du cinéaste et raconte la restauration de la version coloriée du Voyage dans la Lune (incluse dans cette présentation), son film le plus célèbre dont on connaît tous au moins une image, la lune avec un obus dans l’œil.

A scene from A Trip To The MoonLe documentaire recourt aux reconstitutions dramatiques : on voit Méliès assister à la première projection des frères Lumière, en 1895. Sidéré et pressentant les possibilités du cinématographe, il veut acquérir cet appareil révolutionnaire, mais les Lumières lui refuse. Il construit alors son propre cinématographe et son propre atelier, le premier studio de cinéma. On l’y voit agir en homme-orchestre, réglant tout lui-même, du scénario aux décors, de la mise en scène à l’interprétation.

Ponctuant les scènes de reconstitution et des extraits de films, des réalisateurs commentent l’importance de Méliès dans l’histoire du cinéma. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Michel Gondry, Michel Hazanavicius se succèdent devant la caméra pour rendre hommage à ce premier poète et magicien de l’écran, inventeur de techniques créatives et de trucages visuels.

– Sophie Walon, Le Monde

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