Three weeks ago Mike and I got married and our entire wedding theme was based on the films of Georges Méliès. Of course I had no idea that was his name when creating my theme rather, I was channelling the whimsical insanity of films such Le Voyage Dans La Lune that I’d seen on YouTube. Our invitations were a print of an Edwardian couple sitting on a moonlit beach, our wedding menus contained Edwardian carnival-style imagery, our toasting flutes were embossed with vintage skull designs. My entire dream was to create something magical, surreal and of course very, very Edwardian.
Needless to say I was delighted when I discovered halfway through Hugo that the film concerned a loose retelling of Méliès’ final years!
I must be one of the only girl geeks on the planet who never read The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I had of course seen the book dozens of times in the ‘fancy’ sections of bookstores but never got around to buying it due to its astronomical price. As for borrowing it I’m officially on the blacklist of every library in eastern Australia. Perhaps because I never saw the movie and only vaguely knew it was about a little boy in a railway station I found myself enchanted. Investing yourself too deeply in a book always leads to disappointment. Ive found myself ranting at Harry Potter films, crying with disappointment when confronted with Ella Enchanted and dont get me started on the film version of Stardust.
I approached Hugo however with a blank slate and instantly found myself enchanted by Martin Scorsese. Needless to say he had to work hard to grab my attention, I was forced to watch Taxi Driver while at university and instantly hated it. I found myself deeply bored by Gangs of New York and baffled by Shutter Island. As far as I was concerned he was a director who spat out eye-catching, blokey films – stunningly beautiful but with little to offer for a girl like me.
Hugo however was of course different. Scorsese stuck with his love of shooting in depth action sequences but setting them entirely inside giant clocks made everything seem surreal and somewhat terrifying. Hugo also unlike his other films was not designed to be loved by the sort of teenage boys who think they’re cool when they get skull tattoos. The balance between well developed male and female characters made this the sort of movie almost anyone could go to. Isabelle with her love of adventure overriding her sense of empathy was awesome to watch.
And wasn’t she just gosh darn adorable?
When I say almost anyone could love this movie I do have to admit some people would find it off putting. After viewing the film I overheard two teenagers who spent the first twenty minutes of it having noisy sex behind us (no, I am NOT kidding) bitching about it in the foyer. According to them they couldn’t understand why “anyone would be emo about not being able to make movies, oh my God get over it”. Of course being young, sexually adventurous and – I suspect – drunk meant they haven’t experienced what it’s like to be told you could no longer pursue your life’s passion.
Of course I’m sure once they go back to school and their teacher tells them they can’t wear hot pants with their school uniform they’ll know exactly how Méliès felt when the French government turned his films into boot heels.