The Magic of Méliès
Director: Georges Méliès
Tribute is paid to the screen’s first special effects wizard in this special collection of marvelously restored prints. In addition to more than a dozen of his early trompes l’oeil – such as Untamable Wiskers, Tchin-Chao, the Chinese Conjurer, and The Mermaid – this volume boasts the illuminating documentary, Georges Méliès, Cinema Magician and a rare hand-tinted print of the fantastic spectacle An Impossible Voyage.
Decades before the term “special effects” was coined, audiences of the newborn cinema were witnessing spectacular screen illusions, courtesy of the medium’s first master magician: Georges Méliès. The films collected on this disc offer an unparalleled view of Méliès’s career, introducing the viewer to the rich body of work that lies beyond A Trip To The Moon (1902), which is featured in vol. 1 of The Movies Begin. Continue reading
EXPERIMENTATION AND DISCOVERY (vol. 3 of THE MOVIES BEGIN) Dir. (various). U.S. and Europe. 1898-1910. Color-tinted, B&W. Frequently comical, often risque, and sometimes just plain baffling, the twenty films of this anthology challenged the precepts of the visual representation of narrative, thereby inventing the photographic and editing techniques that would quickly become accepted as cinematic syntax. Includes Peeping Tom (1901), History of a Crime (1901), How It Feels to be Run Over (1900), and The Dream of a Rarebit Fiend (1906).
More than any other decade, the first ten years of the moving picture saw the greatest amount of experimentation and development. Ranging from the ingeniously creative to the audacious, the films represented in this volume offer a sampling of the primitive masterworks that allowed the technical novelty of the cinema to so quickly flourish into an artistically expressive medium. Continue reading
The European Pioneers
From the archives of the British Film Institute, this collection features forty distinctive works from cinema’s infancy, produced by such Euro pioneers as R.W. Paul, George Edward Smith, Fran Mottershaw, Walter Haggar & Sons, and James Bamforth, as well as by acknowledged innovators like the Lumière brothers and Méliès. Includes Demolition of a Wall (1896), Exiting the Factory (1895), and Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (circa 1895). Continue reading
The Movies Begin
The Great Train Robbery & Other Primary Works
Directors: Edweard Muybridge, Edwin S. Porter, Thomas Edison
This survey of the cinema’s earliest landmarks and rarities features the 1877 motion studies of Edward Muybridge, the early productions of Thomas Edison’s Black Maria, the actualites of Louis Lumiére, George Méliès’s A Trip to the Moon (1902), and climaxes with the premiere of a mint-condition print of Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery, complete with the authentic hand-tinting witnessed by audiences of 1903.
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His latest, a 5-minute experiment titled Odin’s Shield Maiden is quite beautiful if not all that thematically engaging. Essentially, it’s a series of black-and-white shots of several women mourning the drowning of a guy named Mundi near the shore. The photography is, needless to say, stunning, and Maddin’s lyrical rhythms are spot on. Still no Heart of the World (2001)–or even My Dad is 100 Years Old (2005)–but wonderful to watch, anyway. Continue reading
If you like early John Waters pieces, you have to see this one. In fact, this movie was released an year earlier than Pink Flamingos. The director was also writer, art director and set decorator, in the traditon of underground cinema – the movie is considered part of the movement called Cinema Marginal and was banned by the military Brazilian authorities.
–mandragoru Continue reading
Pat O’Neill’s second long-form work, following Water & Power. A master of the optical printer, and the single greatest influence on Peter Tscherkassky’s “manufractured” cinema, O’Neill reprocesses and recontextualises fragments of found footage & public service broadcasts to extraordinary effect, meshing it with his own original footage (incorporating time-lapse, motion control and innumerable exposures). Cinematic non-sequiturs amass, layer upon visual layer, creating trouble in the image. Continue reading