MARTIN SCORSESE IS A CINEMAGICIAN TOO
That term also happens to be a term associated with Georges Melier. A filmmaking pioneer…
I have a confession to make. While I’m a passionate fan of film, I’m quite far from a film historian. There are so many classics out there that I have yet to see. And so I must confess that until I saw Hugo, I had never thought to seek out La Voyage Dans La Lune. Having said that, the second I got home from the theater, I went straight to YouTube and found it:
Hugo is a brilliant film about an orphan boy who spends his days tending the clocks in a Paris train station. At night, every ounce of the boy’s effort is poured into fixing an old automaton he believes carries a message from his father. His journey leads him to Georges Melier, who has long since abandoned his legendary filmmaking career. Now running a toy shop in the train station, Melier is a broken man who feels his life’s work was for nothing. Together they learn that everyone has a purpose and things that are broken can be fixed.
The story itself is fantastic but what resonated with me was a scene in the middle of the film. Hugo tells the story of his father’s first experience at the movies and how La Voyage Dans La Lune was like nothing he had every seen before. It got me thinking about my own experiences with movies and how they’ve inspired me.
Like I said, I’m no film historian, so I don’t think of Georges Melier when I think about my special movie memories. When I go back to my childhood, I think about artists like Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg. I think about Alladin and E.T. I think about Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Robin Hood, The Neverending Story, The Sandlot and more… When I began watching movies on my own, I discovered my own cinemagician in Martin Scorsese. Goodfellas, Casino, Gangs of New York, The Departed, Cape Fear, The Aviator… Someday, I’ll be the one with the shocked expression when someone says they’ve never seen a Scorsese picture. I’ll be the one talking about the classics I grew up with much like the film buffs out there with a soft spot for Melier.
“Movies are where your dreams come from.”
While watching Hugo, I thought a lot about what it was like to experience some of my favorite films for the first time. I’ve been in love with the movies since I was a boy and that will never change. But I don’t take enough time to truly appreciate the work that goes into the stories I adore. I love the idea that someone’s passion and dedication can have a profound impact on my life without them ever knowing it. I connect to their life’s work on a deep and personal level and there is no better fuel in my own filmmaking pursuits.
My experience with Hugo went far beyond a 2 hour movie about a young boy’s journey to find his place in the world. It eclipsed the care Mr. Scorsese put into this wonderful love letter to the cinema. For me, I connected to Hugo as a young boy who watched a movie, rewound the tape and watched it again without hesitation. A boy who regularly circled listings in the TV guide and crammed 2 or 3 movies on every VHS tape within reach. That was the birth of my obsession with movies.
Any film that reminds me of that time in my life is okay in my books.