Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hugo - For the Love of Melies

On Sunday I went to see Hugo with my parents. It lived up to its considerable hype and opened a door (as I'm sure it has to many a film fan) into the previously unknown world of legendary filmmaker Georges Melies. It's too bad that my only previous exposure had been via a Smashing Pumpkins video (no offense to the Pumpkins, it's a brilliant homage).

From all of the interviews and articles, Scorsese is known for screening and recommending older (and mostly unknown) movies to those involved in his current productions. Like most great directors, he possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of cinema. In Hugo, he presents the historical context of Melies (who is a character) as a comprehensive overview. Usually I am resistant to such overt calls to influence (such as rushing out to pick up the work of a recently deceased celebrity), but I surrendered easily to this one...

By the time the fictional character Hugo encounters him, Melies is a brokenhearted man working in a toy shop in a Paris train station where most of the action in the film takes place. It's a very sweet and impressive piece of film making that deserves any of the awards its sure to rack up on Oscar night.

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