And we’re back to Papa Georges.
I mentioned in my Trip to the Moon article that Melies’ films can essentially be broken down into two categories – spectacles and trick films. This would be the latter category.
The trick film is essentially… editing. It’s about people who learned what editing is and what it can do before everyone else did. Edison pretty much just showed you stuff. Here’s a cockfight, here’s a staged boxing match. And now here’s a short film about people kissing in a train while it’s going through a tunnel. He didn’t really branch out so much in terms of storytelling. And it’s people like Melies, and some of the filmmakers who experimented with form (which we saw with films like How It Feels to Be Run Over and The Big Swallow) that really started to figure out the many ways there are to tell a story on film.
Essentially the idea behind the trick film is, when you stop cranking the camera, the movie stops. So you can stop your movie at any point, and start it up whenever you want. And when you move things during that time, it appears as if they’ve disappeared. Now, we can do it with a pause button. So filmmakers who understood the power of editing could use these tricks to their advantage. That’s entirely what this movie is. A series of editing tricks. (more…)