Méliès: Attraction and Narration

Le voyage dans la lune
R: Georges Méliès. P: Star Film. Fr 1902

La sirène
R: Georges Méliès. P: Star Film. Fr 1904

Le voyage à travers l’impossible
R: Georges Méliès. P: Star Film. Fr 1904

Le Royaume des Fées
R: Georges Méliès. P: Star Film. Fr 1903

Méliès’ principle contribution to cinema was the combination of traditional theatrical elements to motion pictures – he sought to present spectacles of a kind not possible in live theatre.
In the Autumn of 1896, an event occurred which has since passed into film folklore and changed the way Méliès looked at filmmaking. Whilst filming a simple street scene, Méliès camera jammed and it took him a few seconds to rectify the problem. Thinking no more about the incident, Méliès processed the film and was struck by the effect such a incident had on the scene – objects suddenly appeared, disappeared or were transformed into other objects.
Méliès discovered from this incident that cinema had the capacity for manipulating and distorting time and space. He expanded upon his initial ideas and devised some complex special effects.
He pioneered the first double exposure (La caverne Maudite, 1898), the first split screen with performers acting opposite themselves (Un Homme de têtes, 1898), and the first dissolve (Cendrillon, 1899).
Méliès tackled a wide range of subjects as well as the fantasy films usually associated with him, including advertising films and serious dramas. He was also one of the first filmmakers to present nudity on screen with Après Le Bal.
Faced with a shrinking market once the novelty of his films began to wear off, Méliès abandoned film production in 1912. In 1915 he was forced to turn his innovative studio into a Variety Theatre and resumed his pre-film career as a Showman.”
Early Cinema


TRAUM UND EXZESS, S. 167, S. 202 f.