Voyage dans la lune

As you may have noticed by now, this week (and this week only) Avenue Kurtodrome will have an update every day. This is because it’s Lunar Week at Delirium Vault.

Le Voyage Dans La Lune (or A Trip To The Moon) is a movie of which the importance shouldn’t be underestimated. In the late 19th century the Lumière brothers frightened their audience by showing a train entering a station. The camera had been placed on the platform and the scared viewers imagined the train would run them over. This was the moment cinema was said to be invented, the fact that audiences were forgetten that what they were watching was only a movie.

For a couple of years cinema was merely that: either an extra eye observing what was happening (e.g. workmen leaving a factory) or a simple bit of trickery. Magician Georges Méliès saw the possibilities of this new invention and used a stop motion technique to perform magic on screen.

1902’s Voyage Dans La Lune was one big step forward: cinema had begun changing itself to what it is nowadays. Stories told by moving pictures. In 1903 The Great Train Robbery did an extraordinary thing: in the final scene a robber shoots a gun towards the screen. The fourth wall (the invisible wall between the characters and us) was broken.
But it couldn’t compare to what Méliès had done before. Not only did he take cinema away from the stories that were normally told (day-to-day activities or historical tales) by venturing into the world of science fiction, what he did was so stunning it’s still remembered today. Hundred years later people still know about the spacecraft landing into the moon’s eye as if it were some cake. It’s an iconic image and that’s what cinema is all about: telling tales in a visually pleasing manner that people won’t forget them.

It must be stated that Méliès intended his cinema as part of his illusionist performances. That is why there isn’t text in his movies. In 1902 it was common that someone would narrate the film as it went along. That is why the version below is narrated by Méliès’s granddaughter in the old fashion. It’s in French though. Underneath you’ll find links to other versions.

The story doesn’t really need explanation, but for the laziest amongst you: at an academic rally a professor tells everyone of his plans to go to the moon. There are some heavy protests, but he manages to get five people to accompany him. The rocket is prepared and launched. On the moon they meet some weird and frightening creatures and they barely make it back home.

Here’s a version without narration (link) and here, by way of novelty, a version of the film with music from Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts: link)

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