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Automata

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Seen Scorsese's "Hugo"?  I did, in 2D at a small shabby theater in Newton, so I want to see it again in 3D.  How amazing to see all that antique technology, possible and otherwise, enshrined lovingly in the absolutely modern technology of digital media.  I didn't know watching it how closely it adhered to the life and activitioes of Georges Melies  -- he actually did build automata.  

Here's a link to the wonderful automaton at the Franklin Museum in Philadelphia story in the Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/science/maillardet-automaton-inspired-martin-scorseses-film-hugo.html?ref=science&gwh=42235E580BB259329BF80E3BC9E10368

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
sphinxie
Dec. 27th, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, it was fantastic! I went straight home and looked up Georges Melies because I couldn't believe one man had been responsible for all those wonders, and it was wonderful that it was true.
stevegreen
Dec. 27th, 2011 01:03 pm (UTC)
The final episode of the mini-series From the Earth to the Moon charminghly recreates the filming of Le voyage dans la lune. As I recall, it's also more honest about the way Méliès was ripped off by Edison, which Hugo oddly sidesteps.

It's a lovely thought that this film is going to bring Méliès' work to the attention of an entire new generation.
stevegreen
Dec. 27th, 2011 12:55 pm (UTC)
It is a rather splendid movie, a definite highlight of the year.
bohemiancoast
Dec. 27th, 2011 01:07 pm (UTC)
I thought it was a really fantastic movie; we saw it in 3D and enjoyed it thoroughly.
deliasherman
Dec. 27th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
I loved the look of the thing, and anything with Frances de la Tour in it is fine by me. Nearly cried when Papa Georges burned his props. And I love automata and early film. So yeah. Very nearly perfect.
ckd
Dec. 27th, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC)
It's a beautiful love letter to creative art in general, and early film in particular.

Between this and Kick-Ass, I have to wonder what Chloe Grace Moretz is going to be like as an actor in 10 years; she's already amazing, and if she learns and grows with experience....
thatmakesmemad
Dec. 27th, 2011 04:54 pm (UTC)
The 3D doesn't add that much, I think the praise for it is unjustified. Mind you I was mildly disappointed with the film as a whole. It's very pretty but the storyline felt stretched as if it had been based on a short story whereas it's a novel.
mattboggan
Dec. 27th, 2011 05:27 pm (UTC)
I just saw it today and I enjoyed this story of a young orphan living amidst machinery and clockworks who has unknowingly inherited from his dead father an automaton built by Georges Méliès himself. What I found the most touching was how this young boy, with the help of a romantic young girl, is set on fixing this automata and how this will trigger the "fixing" of Méliès himself, now an old, forgotten and bitter man.

Truth to tell, I wanted once to write a story about this old Méliès, forgotten, a seller of toys and treats in Montparnasse station in the 1920s. A derelict man, an antique from a vanished time-period.

I have found the young actors' play to be very bad and sometimes the editing was awkward. The 3D (as always) doesn't add much to the film. Nonetheless, despite these flaws, I enjoyed it, if only for the fascination I have for Méliès, for automata, for prestidigitation. Scorcese was obviously fascinated by these things too and his film is a pleasure to see because of this, in my opinion.

I have visited both the Musée de la magie in Blois (a museum dedicated to Robert Houdin's life, who inspired Méliès who bought his automata after his death) and a exhibit dedicated to Méliès at La Cinémathèque in Paris a few years ago.

For those among you who might be interested, a recent DVD was just released which compiles all the works by Méliès including the restored version of Le Voyage vers la Lune.

Edited at 2011-12-27 05:31 pm (UTC)
bondgwendabond
Dec. 28th, 2011 01:09 am (UTC)
If you enjoyed the movie, I highly encourage you to look up the source book by Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (if you haven't already read it). It's quite marvelous.
Ted Chiang [myopenid.com]
Dec. 28th, 2011 06:40 am (UTC)
I saw it in 3D, and while I didn't love the film, I did think it made good use of 3D in a few spots, primarily as a way to recreate the novelty that Méliès’ films must have had for viewers at the time. The references to early viewers’ reactions to film of an oncoming train make it a movie where the use of 3D actually has some thematic relevance.
crowleycrow
Dec. 28th, 2011 11:40 am (UTC)
Did you know that Hugo's dream of the train smashing through the side wall of the Terminal and out onto the street is actually a historical occurrence, caught in a famous photograph on which the last shot was based? http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/blogs/browbeat/2011/11/30/martin_scorsese_s_hugo_the_real_movies_that_inspired_scorsese_s_film/watch_the_short_films_that_inspired_hugo1322607988364.jpg.CROP.article250-medium.jpg
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