Synopsis by Judd Blaise
French filmmaker Georges Franju, director of Eyes Without a Face, Blood of the Beasts, and several other renowned classics, pays fond tribute to one of his forerunners in Le Grand Melies, a half-hour biography about early film director and innovator George Melies. Sequences from the director's life are re-created with the assistance of his family, with Melies' second wife appearing as herself and Melies' son Andre in the role of his father. The film details Melies' career, from his beginning as a stage magician to his fateful discovery of cinema at an exhibition by Lumiere. Inspired, Melies built his own film camera and set about revolutionizing the film industry with such groundbreaking works as Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon). Considered the inventor of special effects, he was among the first to apply theatrical techniques, stage sets, and trick photography to film and exploit the medium's potential for fantasy. However, his business acumen was not equal to his artistic and technical skill; the film also shows how Melies soon found himself ruined by a proliferation of imitators. Franju ends his fond recollection with a personal tribute, acknowledging Melies' role in making his own films possible.
cinema, film-director, filmmaker, inventor, movie-camera, recollection, re-enactment, special-effects, tribute