Monday, September 5, 2011

Telluride Film Festival #38: Trip to the Moon

Every night at the festival the best seat in town is under the red cliffs framing the ski resort and below a clear night sky in Elk Park, but you better bring your own camp chair, a jacket and rain gear just in case.

I have watched a movie there every night and it is the best reason for coming here, even if you can't afford a ticket, because the films at the little park right across from the courthouse are free!

The first night, before the main feature we got to see the newly restored and originally colored A Trip to the Moon
 Is that not the most wonderful Art Nouveau poster you ever saw!

The 1902 iconic silent film actually opened the Canne Film Festival this year and here at Telluride it was featured at the open air park and would later be part of a line up of the entertaining shorts from that era, all put to music by Serge Bromberg.

Here at the park, the film was introduced by it's restorers, Lobster Films. The restoration took a long process of sometimes letting the originally "munched" colored Spanish version sit in a basement with humidors for upwards of  two years before the fragile film strips could be laid flat and hi-def photographed.

They also told us about Nitrate film and how dangerous it was to actually be stuck in an old movie theater and even had a visually aid....
It took about 2 seconds for the film to go up in flames!

Unfortunately,  finiancing took some time and effort to bring together, but finally with the Technicolor Fountaion on board and new music by the French band  Air, new audience are seeing this amazing little picture in color, made in 1902 when the idea of space travel was already in our collective conscious.

George Me'lie'....

 was inspired by two popular Sci-Fi writers Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and Trip to the Moon is considered the first Sci-Fi movie ever, selling in both black and white version and colored.

During World War I, the French army actually seized most of Me'lie' 's film and melt them down for boot heels for the solidiers. With the power of the big studios in America and Thomas Edison basically pirating Melies work such as The Trip to the Moon, the French inovator in both animation and special effects actually went bankrupt.

But watching this amazing short, I started to think it had many parallels to a modern inovation in animation and special effect, Avatar (2009)....

brought out even more with the amazingly colored version of bright reds, pinks, blues, yellows and green. The moon tribal people, looking very Na'vi- ish.

I truly thought this was an odd thought, until I was reading the festival Film Watch newspaper and
Serge Bromberg was qouted as having the same idea.

The Trip to the Moon is not just similiar to Avatar in its story but to think that Me'lie' 's use of live action and cut outs, primitive animation techiniques is what filmmakers have been building on and was the beginings of even James Cameron's advancements of the computer generated animation of Avator that also mixed in live action. There truly are no new ideas!

And what an iconic image the moon with a red rocket in its eye....

has also become part of our collective conscious, one only needs to look up in a litttle mountain town like Telluride....

Since the film is over 100 years old, it is considered in the public domain so here it is for your enjoyment in black and white, though if you ever can, do see the newly restored version by Lobster Films.

No comments:

Post a Comment