When you're a film student, no matter how hard you try to deny it, you become a bit of a film snob. That's how I felt when I went to see Hugo for the first time in the theater, and ten twelve-year-old girls sat in front of me. I rolled my eyes and expected it to be a horrible experience. But then the movie showed a piece of film history, A Trip to the Moon by Georges Méliès. All the tweens laughed, amazed and entertained by a piece of art made more than a hundred years ago. It was eye-opening to see how this short film, which I had studied so much in classes, still has an effect on people who encounter it fresh today. The love of film still exists.
Today and again Sunday, the Dairy Center for the Arts will be screening A Trip to the Moon at the Boedecker Theater, along with the documentary The Extraordinary Voyage, which chronicles the discovery of a color print of the film and its journey to restoration.
Starting this week, the Dairy is showing Mark Cousin's fifteen-part series The Story of Film: An Odyssey, which follows film from its creation to the industry it is today. "It's sort of a slightly different take on some of the history of film, somewhat less academic and a little bit more fresh," says Glenn Webb, cinema manager at the Dairy. Each month, the venue will show two episodes of the series, with an intermission for discussion and refreshments.
"We're showing some repertory content to go along with that that is in sync with the Story of Film parts that we're screening," Webb explains. Since this week's program includes Birth of Cinema, which looks at films made between 1900 and 1920, "then Georges Méliès makes a lot of sense," he notes.
A magician turned filmmaker, Méliès took film further than it had gone before, using the medium to create visual magic. "He used a lot of tricks and fun techniques, but also he employed it to really capture the imagination in a way that people hadn't up until then," Webb says.
The film will be followed by The Extraordinary Voyage, a documentary by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange. "They found this hand-colored print -- before they had only found black-and-white prints -- but it was already decomposing. So it's an incredible process of taking it apart and putting back together the fragments frame by frame and restoring it," Webb says. The restoration premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 2011, and has traveled the world since.
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The screening of the two films begins at 4:30 p.m. today at the Boedecker Theater, followed by the screening of The Story of Film Parts 1 and 2 at 6:30 p.m. A Trip to the Moon and The Extraordinary Voyage will show again at 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 for non-members and $7 for members, and can be purchased on The Dairy's website.