In the era of early silent cinema, French filmmaker and illusionist George Méliès recognized the potential for movie special effects. He made hundreds of films during his career, but in 1902, he released A Trip To The Moon, a 16-minute long spectacle that’s considered one of the first in the science fiction genre. It went on to become his most famous work, and its dazzling technical feats – all achieved with simple camera tricks like stop motion photography – are still recognized as innovations in the medium. Its iconic imagery also left an indelible mark on pop culture – it inspired the award-winning music video for Tonight, Tonight by The Smashing Pumpkins, and most recently, Martin Scorsese paid tribute to Méliès and the film in his fantasy drama, Hugo.
From June 18 to June 21, Regent Square Theater will celebrate at the legacy of the film and its maker. The program features a one hour-long documentary that details how Méliès invented movie special effects in the 1890s, only to see the industry he helped revolutionize later turn its back on him. Directed by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange, it includes interviews with filmmakers Costa-Gavras and Michel Gondry, actor Tom Hanks, and many others.
The movie also portrays the two-decades long process that went into restoring a rare, heavily damaged hand-colored print of A Trip to the Moon that was discovered in 1993. As expected, the event will end with a screening of the restored print, a privilege that should appeal to anyone interested in the history and beauty of film.
Films will screen in English and French with subtitles. Shows start at 8 p.m., and admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and students.