AIR IN SPACE

A little late to the moon party…

Lobster Films completed its restoration of a hand-colored Voyage dans la lune (Georges Méliès, 1902) in 2011.  The work took twenty years.  It is the most expensive restoration in the history of cinema.  The print premiered at Cannes with a new soundtrack by Air.  It will screen elsewhere this month (and can be found embedded in Scorsese’s 3D homage to Méliès, Hugo).  Here, one can see an interview with Serge Bromberg, the Director of Lobster Films, on the acquisition of the print (from Spain).  In the interview, Bromberg interestingly claims that the aim of the project was “to promote…and to revive the experience of ‘Trip to the Moon’.”  It would be interesting to put some pressure on the ellipses, to hear more about the promotional ends of this particular restoration and the experience promoters hoped to revive.  More interesting perhaps, is the way in which the hyper-national restoration, promotion and re-release of the film (from Lobster to Air to Cannes) conceals the transnational circuits that the film travelled before finding its way back to origin stories and national mythologies.

EARLY FILM REMIX

Un monsieur qui a mangé du taureau (Romeo Bosetti, 1909)

The original Un monsieur qui a mangé du taureau belongs to an early French colonial/comic genre, wherein characters eat exotic meals/meats and transform into the animals on their plates.  Here, a dinner of bull meat makes a man into a raging beast.  The toreros of Spain are called and come to the rescue.  In a variation on this theme: a man eats kangaroo meat and must eat French snails to be restored.

In 1935, Eugene Deslaw, the abstract filmmaker (examples herehere, and here) added an introduction and a voiceover by comic sound artist and musician Bétov.  Deslaw recasts the original as a Bétov “retrospective” and reclaims the film for the genealogy of the avant-garde.  The film was restored by the inimitable Lobster Films.