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Méliès – Léger d’écran

COLECLOUGH, Sharon (2022) Méliès – Léger d’écran. Early Popular Visual Culture. ISSN 1746-0654

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Abstract or description

The magic act is a performance best seen live, the skill of prestidigitation more difficult to deny when the trick is offered in the physical space shared by the audience. For Georges Méliès the cinema offered the opportunity to extend the stage act he had developed and to embellish upon the traditional illusions of the music hall. Méliès’ skill lay with his knowledge of legerdemain, sleight of hand (literally ‘light of hand’), but also the way of thinking it suggests, a trickster’s mind and one which was able to anticipate and apply what the technology of cinema could contribute to the communication of this craft to a wider audience.

This work seeks to examine the relationship of Méliès’ artistic vision with his background in the music hall and his future in the cinema, exploring the ways in which Méliès used (indeed, in many cases created) the production and post-production processes available to produce on-screen magic – whether accidentally, by early exploitations of the medium (Escamotage d’une Dame Chez Robert-Houdin), progressively more technically complex realisations (L’Homme à la tête de Caoutchouc), or even the use of social and professional connections from his music hall background. Additionally, the mediatory effect of the technology of camera, editing, and mise-en-scene will also be considered. By offering technical and aesthetic analysis of Méliès’ work and examining the technology and expectation at hand during its creation, this article seeks a closer consideration of the relationship between the music hall and the cinema and the work of Méliès as bond between the two as entertainment entered a new age.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Digital, Technologies and Arts > Film and Media
Depositing User: Sharon COLECLOUGH
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2022 10:44
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2023 01:38
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