30 May 2009

'Pataphysics and Georges Méliès

I've finished reading an incredible children's book called The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick which, strangely enough, has ended up a few connecting ends in my studies of late.

The book (link to the book's website: http://www.theinventionofhugocabret.com/index.htm. Be sure to check out all of the neat links to all sorts of cool, weird stuff, like automatons and optical illusions) was an invented story about the intertwining lives of fictional Hugo Cabret, horologist, and real-life filmmaker, Georges Méliès. I looked up the films he's done (embedded below) and found out that he's considered 'pataphysical in his techniques and philosophy. 'Pataphysics, in turn, is a pseudoscience developed in the turn of the century by writer and philosopher Alfred Jarry (of Ubu Roi fame) which, consequentially, Michael Benjamin happens to be reading about right now and has only recently come into my realm of knowledge and definitions. Strange, very strange, indeed.

Anyhow, here are some Georges Méliès films. Unfortunately, the first one is in French, but I think it is also rather self-explanatory. A group of scientists take the first trip to the moon. Méliès was an innovator in the field of special effects--you can see why!

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