Georges Méliès

When some people travel they like to micro-manage their itinerary.  Me?  I leave room for the unplanned. It pays such dividends. For instance, I once chanced upon an Iggy Pop set close up from a river bank in Landerneau in Brittany. If I’d been on the other side of the waterway as a legit festival goer I would have paid megabucks to see him, bare chest, tight jeans and all. And here’s another example. Louis and I were wandering through Granada in Spain once and came across a travelling exhibit about Georges Méliès in the centre of town. It was free and I like that word. So, without a hint of planning involved, we popped in.

George who?  Ah, I’d never heard of him either. But I did recognise his work. Georges Méliès was a French film director who, at the turn of the century, produced the first feature length film, a full fifteen minutes long! Interestingly the promoters  thought that an audience wouldn’t be able to sit for that length of time but they were mistaken. With its litany of special effects,  ‘Le Voyage dans la Lune’  was a triumph.  A man’s face peeping out from a black and white moon made me realise that I was familiar with Méliès’ work after all. It’s rather iconic. I’ve just noticed that a fellow Twitter user has it as their profile picture.

I got to watch the whole film at the exhibition was stunned by its ingenuity.   Méliès was an illusionist as well as a filmmaker.  The imagery is all the more remarkable considering it was conceived in 1902.  It’s available here on  YouTube if you’re interested.

The exhibit told the tale of such a fascinating life.  After huge success Méliès became destitute only to be rescued by a former star of his movies with whom he set up a toy stall on a Paris railway station. It just goes to show.  You never know what life is going to throw at you!

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