Friday, July 03, 2009

Un'ora con Georges Méliès (e con qualche Lobster)

An Hour of Pure Georges Méliès (and some Lobsters). Presenta, grand piano (good), last film's bonimenteur: Serge Bromberg. Viewed in Cinema Lumière 1, Bologna, 3 July 2009.

From the catalogue introduction: Georges Méliès was not only a pioneer of the cinema but also a last representative of the magic theatre and fantasy spectacle of the 19th century, the "long century" (Eric Hobsbawm), which ended in 1914. Méliès and his Star Films were at their peak in 1903-1904, and crucial for the cinema before 1910, but for legal reasons it has been difficult to screen his films. - NB. Having finished his film career Méliès burned all his negatives and prints. Most of the Méliès films are lost forever, and the rest can never be seen again in good prints.

All films: Country: France, PC: Star Film, D: Georges Méliès, 35 mm, from: Lobster Films

Le Cauchemar. 1896. - Passable b&w print - man asleep in bed, in his nightmare, transforms into a woman, etc. - 1'33"
Un homme de tête. 1898. - Passable b&w print - he severs his heads repeatedly, and the severed heads give a concert - 1'11"
L'Illusionniste double et la tête vivante. 1900. - Passable b&w print - the magician doubles himself and meets a magical vanishing lady who comes alive from a paper head - 1'25"
Le Livre magique. 1900. - B&w print from damaged source - the figures in a giant book come alive: Pierrot, Arlecchino, Pulcinella, Colombina, Cassandra - 3 min
Nouvelles luttes extravagantes. 1900. - Passable b&w print - buxom ladies wrestle in tights, transformations, disjecta membra, flattening as in animation - 3 min
Le Rêve du radjah. 1900. - Passable b&w print - The rajah's dream: changes in space, apparitions, transformations, fight with the pillow - 2'20"
Le Réveil d'un monsieur pressé. 1900. - The man wakes up, tries to dress, but his clothes undergo relentless transformations, exhausted, he returns to bed - 2 min
Le Sorcier, le prince et le bon génie. 1900. - Passable b&w print - two men and a woman - magic dresses, apparitions, disappearances, constant transformations - 2'08"
Le Tonneau des danaîdes. 1900. - B&w print - 8 woman and 1 man - the magic barrel can contain an endless number of women - 1'11"
Le Chapeau à surprise. 1901. - B&w print - a magician's miraculous table and trunk - a giant top hat - the magician conjures even his dinner guests from his trunk - even the painting on the wall comes alive - 2'33"
Excelsior! 1901. - Passable b&w print - the magician conjures a handkerchief from his assistant's mouth, and a bowl from the handkerchief - the magician uses his assistant as a water pump - he even gets fish to the bowl from his assistant's mouth - fire to the torch - the bowl turns into a shrimp and into a beautiful woman dressed as a clown - 2'04"
Nain et géant. 1901. - Passable b&w print - he doubles himself - one grows into a giant - the other shrinks into a midget - 0'51"
La Danseuse microscopique. 1902. - Passable b&w print - the bearded magician conjures eggs from his assistant's mouth - breaks the eggs into his top hat - a big egg grows even bigger - a dancing mini woman grows into life size - changes of form and place - 2'50"
L'Equilibre impossible. 1902. - Starting with images of classical antiquity - the acrobat GM multiplies into four identical copies, three of them performing acrobatics on his head and arms - 1'11"
Les Trésors de Satan. 1902. - Print has low contrast in the beginning - in the Satan's tresure cave - female assistants give the Devil a hard time - diabolic dance with a miser - 2'39"
L'Auberge du Bon Repos. 1903. - Passable b&w print - the slightly intoxicated traveller tries to go to sleep - but the portrait on the wall comes alive - his boots start to walk on the walls - the bed rocks like a boat on waves - strange faces on the walls haunt him - the Devil jumps in from the window - 5'30"
Le Monstre. 1903. - In Egypt, the sphinx, the pyramid - a living skeleton from the tomb becomes a ghost - who turns into a living woman, a temple beauty - and back to skeleton again - 2'31"
L'Oracle de Delphe. 1903. - In Egypt, in Delphi, the sphinxes come alive - a thief's head turns into that of a donkey - 1'40"
Le Chaudron infernal. 1903. - Colour print - Belphegor puts a woman into his devil's cauldron - the vapours of the cauldron turn into ghosts - 1'39"
La Fée carabosse. 1906. - Bonimenteur: Serge Bromberg - Colour print - a princess appears from a mirror - money turns into sand - the witch's revenge, magic dagger, magic smoke - chase by a magic broom at full moon - the shamrock: the ghosts disappear - a giant frog, an immense owl, a dragon, two snakes - a magic whisk, a magic sword - the prince met the princess - the flight in the sky - refuge by the sea - 9'58"

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