See the moving picture


Penetrating a Stable Universe

Le Voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon)

Georges Méliès, Star-Film, France, 1902

As the rocket carrying the intrepid scientists approaches the moon, we see it, from the “point of view” of the rocket, move toward the camera lens. Characteristically, Méliès put his papier-mâché moon on a dolly and tracked the prop rather than the camera. Note, however, that only the moon itself approaches the camera: because the framework of clouds remains stationary, the “magic”—the transformation of moon into aggrieved Man in the Moon—transpires in a “reality” as stable as stagecraft can render it.

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