Oct 7 & 8: trick films @ MoMA

George Melies and his Rivals
Le Voyage dans la lune (A Voyage to the Moon) 1902. France. Directed by Georges Méliès. 13 min.
Barbe-Bleue 1901. France. Directed by Georges Méliès. 10 min.
Les Sept Chateaux du diable (Seven Castles of the Devil) 1902. France. Directed by Ferdinand Zecca. 12 min.
Le Voyage à travers l’impossible (Impossible Voyage) 1904. France. Directed by Georges Méliès. 17 min.
La Caverne infernale 1905. France. Directed by Gaston Velle. 2 min.
Créations renversantes (Stunning Creations) 1905. France. Directed by Gaston Velle. 2 min.
La Garde fantôme (Phantom Guard) 1905. France. Directed by Gaston Velle. 3 min.
La Peine du talion (Tit for Tat)1905. France. Directed by Gaston Velle. 4 min.
Robert Macaire et Bertrand (Foxy Hoboes) 1906. France. Georges Méliès. 10 min.
Le Tunnel sous la manche (The Nightmare of the Submarine Tunnel) 1907. France. Directed by Georges Méliès. 14 min.
Excursion dans la lune 1908. France. Directed by Segundo de Chomón, Ferdinand Zecca. 10 min.

We had a really good house on Weds, not only in size but they were really into the films, applauding at the end of each one, and chuckling (both where appropriate and inadverently inappropriate). Thurs’s crowd started out small and grew after we began; a more sedate reaction, although they more audibly enjoyed the Zecca knock-off of Trip to the Moon.

I’d have to say that trick films are probably the hardest to play for, even moreso than last week’s program of early pre-DWG directors. These trick films find all actors onscreen in tableaus and in constant motion so you aren’t always sure where to look. My Weds show, esp with the films I was sughtreading, was about finding who “had the ball” so to speak in a lot of the scenes. For Thurs I knew where to look and where to point the audience musically so they’d find it more eaily as well.

Was surprised that this show of 10 films in a row did not seems as tiring as it ought to. I generally have a rule with shorts programs — when I have more say in the programming or running of the show — to put a break after 3 or 4 shorts, because a program of 5 or 6 stories without a brief mental intermission can be draining and by the time you get to the last short you’ve forgotten the first two. Still, this program of Melies/Zecca worked just fine. We’ll see if the same is true of next week’s DWG Biograph show.

Unfortunately, the print of Nightmare of the Subway Tunnel did not arrive. Too bad, it’s a really good one; Serge Bromberg showed it at BAM a couple years ago. Ironically the print that did show up (but wasn’t screened) was Now You Tell One with Charley Bowers. Charles Silver will order the Subway Tunnel film for one of the upcoming programs, so it’ll still be seen.

I continue to enjoy playing the Modus for these shows, and was interviewed by a writer for some promotional piece for Yamaha about the instrument. I was actually interviewed by someone in the press every day this week.

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