As Antoine de Saint Exupéry notes with wry humour
in The Little Prince, 'grown-ups like numbers.' He is right of
course, but sometimes numbers really are awe-inspiring.
Georges Méliès made OVER 500 films during his lifetime, of
which, sadly, only around 200 are extant. He himself destroyed a large body of
his own work, and other films were either lost to the ravages of time or
destroyed during the First World War.
Méliès' life was at every turn full of setbacks, of which
the most major was his contract with Pathé films, which ended up destroying his
production career. The contract stipulated that Pathé would have the right to
edit and distribute Méliès' films. He was forced to break the
contract in 1913, and was by then extremely indebted to the company -- so much so
that he had no solution but to stop making films. He became a sweet and toy
salesman and made just enough to sustain himself -- the enormous amount of
critical acclaim that he had gained over years of hard work in the industry
failed to translate into material aid.
Méliès revolutionised filmmaking and
special effects -- inThe
Orchestre), he created dozens of multiples of himself playing
different instruments; inBluebeard(Barbe Bleue), the keys from
Bluebeard's rooms danced demonically; inLe
Papillon Fantastique, a woman appears out of nowhere and is entrapped in a
moving spider's web.
His films incorporate effects in a way which
never looks dated,and one of the most bizarre aspects of his work is that it
always seems to sit between genres and media. He brought his interest in magic
tricks and theatre into his films and as a consequence it is difficult to say
if we are watching a theatrical version of cinema or a kind of filmic theatre.
At the same time, some of Méliès' films
have almost scientific concerns -- A Trip to the Moon and The Astronomer's Dreamextend the theatrical beyond time and space and are at the same
time fraught with the anxiety that human capacity for innovation may be
annihilated in the search of arrogant self-affirmation -- do we want other
scientific, imaginary, or spiritual worlds because we can impose ourselves on
them, or do we want them to appreciate their truth and beauty?
Ultimately, Méliès worlds burst through historical and geographical boundaries with uncanny life, striking us anew over a century after their production. And their capacity to transcend such boundaries is likely to extend for centuries to come.
There's something about slightly out-of-pitch lo-fi pianos that will pull my heartstrings probably till the day I die (and maybe after that, who knows?)
Probably because it reminds me of that poor on-its-deathbed piano at my school which, in its defence, really knew how to give a lot when it was loved and treated with respect.
I was hardly expecting to find a song like this one in Noah Lennox's repertoire, having only been familiar with his electronic sample-based Person Pitch work up till now (which also took hold of me and never let go) and I've been unaware of his acoustic past. But it's all perfect.
And there's not much left to say about Broadcast, except that retrospectively 'I Found the End' just accrued more and more tragic meaning...