See the moving picture

FIGURE 3.18

The Overinflated Ego

L’Homme à la tête de caoutchouc (The Man with the Rubber Head)

Georges Méliès, Star-Film, France, 1902

A chemist/magician (Méliès himself) takes a replica of his own head from a small box and places it on the table. Then, connecting a bellows to a pipe beneath the head, he blows it up to a height of four feet before deflating it to its original size. When his assistant—who is literally a clown—tries to duplicate the feat, he overinflates the head until it explodes. It’s hard not to see this little film as a commentary on the overinflation of the scientist/ magician’s ego—the result of taking himself as something less modest than a mere liberator of an audience’s fugitive needs and desires.

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