In the last few years, an interest in the silent film era awoke inside me. It is, at least to me, so fascinating to read about all those technical advances that led to the art of film. By 1905, the art form film turned into what we know today with the rise of the first full length feature films. Before that, film was no more than an experimental sideshow attraction.
The very first science fiction film in history was Le Voyage dans la Lune/A Trip to the Moon (France, 1902) by French director and magician Georges Méliès. The film itself is around 14 minutes long and was strongly inspired by Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and H. G. Wells’ First Men in the Moon (1901).
There is so much I love about this masterpiece. In short, the story revolves around some scientists, which look more like your stereotypical wizard, that built a cannon/ spaceship that shoots them directly to the moon. Actually, the spaceship shoots them directly into the eye of the moon.
On the moon itself, the scientists have one adventure after another. However, before I reveal too much, why don’t you watch this film yourself? Like many old movies, the copyrights of A Trip to the Moon expired and can be watched or downloaded online legally.
Sure, the special effects of A Trip to the Moon are charming at best and nothing in comparison to today’s sci-fi 3d blockbuster, but Méliès’ masterpiece is everything I love about film. A Trip to the Moon treats film like art and not like a money-making machine, it makes me happy, and was a technical innovation at that time. In other words, go and watch it!
Do you have a favorite period of film-making? Any other early silent film you’d recommend me to see? Leave a comment down below!