La lune Ã un mÃ¨tre (1898)
Director: Georges MÃ©liÃ¨s
Cast: Georges MÃ©liÃ¨s
Synopsis: “”In the opening of this film is seen the astronomer intently poring over his books. Suddenly, in a cloud of smoke, Satan appears and surprises the astronomer.”
Made in 1898, La lune a un metre was by far Georges Melies most elaborate to date. In fact, it was probably cinema’s most sophisticated movie and shows a real ambition on the Frenchman’s part to extend the boundaries of the seventh art. To begin with, La lune a un metre is over three minutes long, which is approaching epic proportions in terms of 19th century cinema when films were generally no longer than one minute.
The film boasts an elaborate set, the workplace of a medieval astronomer in which a huge telescope extends through a turret window. To the right of the window is a chalkboard, to the left a desk at which the astronomer works. When the astronomer falls asleep on the job he has a nightmare which sees inanimate objects and spirits appearing and disappearing at regular intervals. Not only that, the moon he is attempting to study suddenly descends through the window and consumes both the astronomer and his telescope before he awakens.
La lune a un metre contains many of the themes and subjects to which Melies constantly returned. The moon, of course, would play a major part in “Voyage dans la lune” a few years later, and an earlier movie Le cauchemar featured the same incidence of a nightmare sufferer being terrorised by a giant moon. Although he allowed his ambition a freer rein here than he had in any previous films, most of the tricks on display had already been seen by Melies’ audience.
(Reviewed 17th August 2014)