A Spectacle of Mental Disturbance

La Rêve à la lune (The Moon-Lover/Drunkard’s Dream)

Ferdinand Zecca, Pathé-Frères, France, 1905

Zecca himself goes down on his knees before the spectacle of a bottle transformed into a prancing woman. A series of further transformations occurs before he’s whisked away into the heavens, where he becomes a tasty bite for the Man in the Moon before he drifts back down into bed, only to be mocked by a menacing clockface. Like many of Zecca’s trick films at Pathé, La Rêve reveals the influence of Georges Méliès, but Zecca’s imagery seems to come from a different psychological storehouse than Méliès’: although Méliès certainly satirizes culturally conditioned fantasies of desire and wish-fulfillment, Zecca seems to draw on imagery associated with more idiosyncratic mental disturbances.

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