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Méliès and his Fantastical Effects

by Kate Fortmueller

A Trip to the Moon (and other Méliès films) are often juxtaposed with the Lumiére films to illustrate two different impulses in cinema. The Méliès films represent the narrative (as well as the magical and fantastical), while the Lumiére films represent the documentary, non-narrative, and realist impulses. Of course (like most generalizations), these assumptions do not account for all of the films - there are Lumiére films that tend toward narrative as well as humor. However, Méliès certainly used more special effects in his films. Note the various effects in this sequence. It is also worth noting how Méliès composes his shots - consider how the action is framed and how he uses depth within the frame. How does this differ from his contemporaries? How is it similar?

Méliès and his Fantastical Effects

by Kate Fortmueller

A Trip to the Moon (and other Méliès films) are often juxtaposed with the Lumiére films to illustrate two different impulses in cinema. The Méliès films represent the narrative (as well as the magical and fantastical), while the Lumiére films represent the documentary, non-narrative, and realist impulses. Of course (like most generalizations), these assumptions do not account for all of the films - there are Lumiére films that tend toward narrative as well as humor. However, Méliès certainly used more special effects in his films. Note the various effects in this sequence. It is also worth noting how Méliès composes his shots - consider how the action is framed and how he uses depth within the frame. How does this differ from his contemporaries? How is it similar?

A Trip to the Moon (1902) - The astronomers fight the Selenites

In this sequence the astronomers explore the moon and fight the Selenites.

from A Trip to the Moon (1902)
Creator: Georges Méliès
Distributor: Flicker Alley
Posted by Kate Fortmueller
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