vendredi 26 septembre 2008

Quotes to,about and by Alice Guy and Georges Melies

“It’s wonderful, Monsieur Melies, simply wonderful. The Cinematographe is only a scientific curiosity. My invention is not for sale. Dear Monsieur Melies I have no desire to see you ruin yourself. The Cinematographe has no commercial value.” -1895, Louis Lumiere’s response to Georges Melies request to purchase a Cinematographe
“No future Monsieur Lumiere? It puts the whole world within the grasp within the reach of everyone.” –1895, Georges Melies’ response to Louis Lumiere’s response
‘Without Georges Melies this movie, and many others, could never have been made.’ -1952, Closing statement of George Franju’s film LE GRAND MELIES
‘GEORGES MELIES, CREATEUR du SPECTACLE CINEMATOGRAPHIQUE, 1861-1938’ -Georges Melies tombstone epitaph, Pere La Chaise Cemetery, Paris, France

Having filmed in the studio a number of short comic or artistic scenes, Melies wanted to take some sea views on the spot, in order to enhance his program with some scenic views, or documentaries, as we call them now. Very determined, he left for Trouville and Le Havre, loaded like a donkey. Two excruciating working days were in store for him. A storm was raging, as Melies had chosen on purpose a period of bad weather, so as to obtain more attractive effects. His camera could hold only 20 meters of film and films could not be inserted or removed in the open air, therefore he had to spend the whole day in gymnastics, taking down his setup after each shot, carrying all his equipment to a photographer’s shop to get it ready for his next shot. As he was alone he did not dare to leave anything on the shore, being afraid that somebody might touch his equipment and perhaps take parts of it. It is easy to imagine the fatigue produced by such maneuvers, especially if they are repeated 20 times in one day, usually walking miles on sandy beaches into which he often sank up to his knees, heavily loaded as he was.

Nothing could stop him, however, as he was dedicated [avait le feu sacre]. He was tired when he came home, but he triumphantly brought back to Paris about 15 glorious shots which had a prodigious effect on the spectators. Nothing of that kind had ever been seen before; the assault of raging waves on the cliffs of Sainte-Adresse, the foam, the seething waters, foam sprayed into the air, the eddies and spindrifts which were flitting about – as banal as all this might appear today, it fascinated the public then, as it was used to standard representations of the sea in the theater
which was realized by a means of painted canvas surfaces shaken by kids crawling underneath it. It was the rigorously exact nature of representation – a complete novelty at that time – which thrilled the public. The ones who were familiar with the sea exclaimed, “That’s it, exactly!” and the ones who had never seen the sea felt they were standing on its shore. -1945, Melies, memoirs (writing in the third person) in Georges Melies, Mage
“It has long been a source of wonder to me that many women have not seized upon the wonderful opportunities offered to them by the motion picture art to make their way to fame and fortune as directors of photo-dramas. Of all the arts there is probably none in which they can make such splendid use of talents so much more natural to a woman than to a man and so necessary to its perfection” -ca 1905, Alice Guy-Blache
“Not only is a woman as well fitted to stage photodrama as a man, but in many ways she has a distinct advantage over him because of her very nature and because much of the knowledge called for in the telling of the story and the creation of the stage setting is absolutely within the province as a member of the gentler sex. She is an authority on the emotions. For centuries she had given them full play while man has carefully trained himself to control them. She has developed her finer feelings for generations, ... and she is naturally religious. In matters of the heart her superiority is acknowledged, her deep insight and sensitiveness in the affairs of cupid ... it seems to me that a woman is especially well qualified to obtain the very best results, for she is dealing with subjects that are almost second nature to her...” -1976, Alice Guy Blache

Yet, there will always be a select few who will want to know. The Lumieres, Guy-Blache and Melies were aware of each other’s existence. All had viewed each other’s works. The Lumieres’ era of product development and commercial activity can roughly be set between the early 1880s to mid 1930s. Melies era of creativity can roughly be set from between the mid 1890s to 1913. Guy-Blache’s era of creativity can roughly be set from between the mid 1890s to 1922.

However, of all involved in this narrowly selective, as well as most important, era of the earliest development of the Cinema, Louis Lumiere is the one honored with a star on the ‘Walk of Fame’ on Hollywood Boulevard

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