Movie Night! Discovery Green Shows Imaginative Silent Films on Oversize Screen

Movie Night! Discovery Green Shows Imaginative Silent Films on Oversize Screen

'A Trip to the Moon' by Méliès

THIS FRIDAY, FEB. 2, Houston Francophiles and silent-film fanatics are invited to bundle up and enjoy Cinema Luminaire at Discovery Green, a program of rarely screened, extraordinarily imaginative silent films created between 1902 and 1907 by magician, actor, and director Georges Méliès. The screenings will be accompanied by live music from Houston-based French violinist Kami Ghavi Helm. The films will be screened on an oversized movie screen on The Anheuser-Busch Stage. Cinema Luminaire is presented in partnership between Discovery Green and the artist residency organization Villa Albertine in Houston.

The event’s title namechecks brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière, French manufacturers of photography equipment, and best known for their Cinématographe motion picture system and the short films they produced between 1895 and 1905.

When Méliès saw these films, each one a simply framed and straightforward shot of a physical activity such as kids jumping off a dock into the ocean (La Mer) and a baby reaching into a fish bowl for a goldfish (La Pêche aux poissons rouges), he was inspired to use this new technology to create something much weirder and more imaginative. Méliès got his own camera, constructed a studio, designed sets, wrote scripts, and created a series of groundbreaking, stylish, and highly influential films using pioneering camera tricks such as stop motion, slow motion, superimposition, and double exposure.

The program begins with Méliès’s 13-minute masterpiece A Trip to the Moon (1902). An inspiration for the video of The Smashing Pumpkins song, “Tonight, Tonight,” this is the one where a rocket launched from Earth lands in the right eye of the Moon. Following A Trip to the Moon is a selection of his short films introduced by Keith Houk, professor at the University of Houston. The rest of the program includes The Eclipse (1907), Good Glue Sticks (1907), The Cook in Trouble (1904), and The Living Playing Cards (1905). The event is free, but registration is encouraged.

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