Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Cinematic Spaces: Le Voyage dans la Lune

Le Voyage dans la Lune

Le Voyage dans la Lune (A trip to the Moon) is Georges Méliès' 1902 silent science fiction, fantasy film which he also wrote and directed. There were two versions released at the time; a black and white version, and also a second, hand coloured version.

The film is considered to be the first science fiction film ever made. The film is composed of series of shots which are then combined to form a narrative about the voyageurs of space flight and discovery.

figure 1: One of the environments the travellers come acoss 

Each shot tells a short entertaining and fantastical story about  a group of astronomers who go on a space ship trip to the moon. Using innovative animation and special effects techniques, Méliès takes the audience on trip around the solar system and the entertaining inhabitants of the moon itself. 

Méliès used painted matte backdrops of an artists interpretation of the surface of the moon to create a scense of realism.

Another innovation was his use of split screen double exposure, where the film is run through the camera two times in order to add images together on the same strip.

figure 2: a range of effects were used to create this scene

 Méliès also uses models both large and small scale, in order to show the same image at different distances. For example the rocket ship being launched form earth, and the smaller model of the rocket firing into the eye of the moon

This is one of the most renowned scenes in the ten minute film;  the landing of the spaceship into the eye of the moon. This shot is an example of how Méliès uses all of his effects; matte backdrops, models, stop motion animation and double exposure to create the special effect.

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