A Trip to the Moon
Extracts from this essay...
One of my favorite earliest filmmakers would have to be Georges Melies. The first time I saw A Trip to the Moon I was completely awe-struck. The way Melies, within that film, practically created the genre of science-fiction is utterly brilliant. Arguably considered the father of science-fiction, Melies forever changed the cinema timeline with his own innovations. Originally a magician, Melies used technologies within film to enhance his career not as a filmmaker, but as a magician. Working at the Theatre Robert-Houdin as a magician, it was after observing the Lumieres' camera that prompted his interest in film. It was then in 1897 that Melies decided to open his own studio. He then went to direct films where the actors would stand in front of painted sets that he created and were inspired by his love for magic. The story of Melies' learned love for special effects is indeed one to be told.
And he would do this seven or eight more times, creating an entire crowd of himself. Melies also first introduced color in film. While actually making an entire film in color is years away, Melies still managed to use it within his films. Usually using only one color, and although must have been somewhat of a tedious task, artists could paint the actual film negative frame by frame to give the film color. For example, in one of his films, Melies makes the decision to give a dancing woman a yellow dress to make her look bright and cheerful. This may not seem like a very important invention to any film viewer in 2006, but around 1900 color was not even a thinkable possibility on screen. Many theorists believe Melies to be the first auteur of film. When putting together a film, Melies himself handled much of the task.
Using these paintings was far more efficient that having to build an entire construct for a short scene on film. And not only were the paintings large, but Melies decided to give the paintings a sort of dreamy appearance. He liked dabbling into the abstract and paranormal. Big and beautiful paintings are much more interesting to look at then a set that might try to be incredibly realistic. While some see Melies strictly as the father of fantasy or science-fiction, I would go as far to say he could easily be considered the father of film. The way Melies constructed entire stories by fading in and out of scenes to advance the plot is a key invention that has brought film to where it is today. Melies made steps within his career that easily could have taken decades for the rest of the world to grasp. The fact that one of his major inventions had arisen out of a common camera jam tells that we learn from our mistakes, and Georges Melies sure learned how to capitalize on his.
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