Sunday, 25 March 2012

just magic

Yesterday evening I went with Francesco to the movie to watch "Hugo". Or better, "Hugo 3D", as it is called around here.
Now, I don't like to think I'm that old(-fashioned), still I don't get this whole fascination about 3D. Or better, I do understand that it's something new and that can add some extra appeal to a movie, but I also know that I don't like it very much.
Oh no, it's not a posh highly intellectual stake against the hyping of 3D effects against screenwriting, no no. The problem is that 3D makes me sick. "Literally": I get a huge burst of motion sickness every time I watch a movie in 3D. I'm not sure whether the laser eye surgery has something to deal with it, but I struggle with  focusing with the 3D glasses on. It takes me 3-4 seconds, a bit less if I stare at the screen with only one eye. Obviously it's not the best way to enjoy a movie!

It happened with "Hugo" too, I watch part of the stunning first scene with my left eye closed and pinching the glasses against the bridge of my nose.
"Hugo" is a weird movie. Beautiful and breathtaking, still a weird movie.
I wish I could say what it's exactly that I liked about it, but it's difficult to pinpoint it: it's a beautiful movie, beautifully directed and with a great cast. But there is more.
It's a Martin Scorsese movie.
It's a 3D movie, as my eyes had to endure (but it can't just be me, can it?). It's a Martin Scorsese 3D movie.
It's a family movie. It's a Martin Scorsese family movie.
It's a movie with Christopher Lee.
It's a Martin Scorsese movie with Christopher Lee, and Sacha Baron Cohen in it.

I'm quite sure only Scorsese could have pulled something like this out of his magic hat.
Perhaps it's my being motion sick that makes me say that, but I found the 3D beautiful but irrelevant to the movie itself.
Heck, even the plot of the book it's based upon is quite irrelevant after a while: "Hugo" is a love movie, an heartfelt declaration of undying love from Martin to the art of cinema, the films and all the people that have brought and bring its magic to life.

Just like the astonishment of the people that watched the train pulling into the station in the Lumiere brothers' movie for the first time, "Hugo" charms you away, takes you by hand into a realm of fantasy where you laugh genuinely watching "A trip to the moon".

It's a good thing there were no Internet and wikipedia during my high school years or my slightly OCD would have spiralled out of control. I barely managed to limit the damages with the 24 volumes encyclopedia my mum had, having something like wikipedia at the tip of my finger would have probably caused some information overload to my mono-neural brain.
The fictional George Méliès has so much in common with the real one to take your breath (and my mental sanity, not to mention the sleep) away.
On the train back home I tried a bit of damage control, trying to stay away from the browser on the mobile, but the curiosity of wanting to know more, to check with my own eyes how much of what I had just saw corresponded to the real history.

And then there is more, some of those weird coincidences that brighten up a whole year just by recalling them.
On the way to Amsterdam, I was listening to Satie, a recording by Ciccolini Barbara gave me as Christmas present. Listening to the same touching notes being played in the film made me smile and shed some tears.

And then there is another memory, of some years ago.
What I knew about Méliès until yesterday came all from an Italian TV show, "Fuori orario - Cose mai viste". "Fuori orario" means "After hours" (another Martin Scorsese's movie... everything's eventual) and no matter what, no matter the joke on its supposed snobbery, it's the best place on Italian Tv (if not the only one left) to watch art films.
The opening titles are played over "Because the night" sung by Patti Smith and when I was watching "Hugo" yesterday evening, Patti's voice was gently playing in my head, humming happily while I was falling in love with cinema over and over again.
The best gift that movies have given me has always been to shake the cynicism off my grumpy self and allow me to feel the same exhilarating marvel I so clearly remember feeling the first time my mum took me to the cinema to watch a movie. The gift of "Hugo" was making me feel the same amazement I felt back then.
I have to thank George and Martin for that.


No comments:

Post a Comment