01 April 2012

The Extraordinary Voyage

The Extraordinary Voyage
The Extraordinary Voyage, directed by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange, is a documentary about Georges Melies and the restoration of his most famous film, A Trip To The Moon. The documentary was made by Lobster Films, the same company which restored A Trip To The Moon last year. It includes interviews with Jean-Pierre Jeunet (director of Delicatessen), Michel Gondry (director of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind), and Michel Hazanavicius (director of The Artist).

The Extraordinary Voyage begins with a biography of Melies: his initial career as a stage magician and theatre manager, his attendance at the Lumiere brothers' first film screening in 1895, and his subsequent work as a pioneer of cinematic special effects and camera tricks. The documentary features extracts from HBO's From The Earth To The Moon - which included a recreation of Melies's studio - and clips from a tinted version of A Trip To The Moon created for a gala event honouring him in 1929.

The documentary also reveals how the hand-coloured version of A Trip To The Moon was restored. An original colour print was discovered at an archive in Barcelona, and this nitrate reel was digitised by Technicolor. A black-&-white negative, supplied by the Melies estate, was utilised to replace missing fragments from the colour print, which were then digitally coloured.

Melies is the subject of Martin Scorsese's most recent film, Hugo, released in 3D. The 5th World Film Fesitval of Bangkok organised a Melies retrospective in 2007. The restored version of A Trip To The Moon was screened as part of La Fete earlier this year.