2011 National Society of Film Critics
"Best Film Restoration" Award
Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon (1902)
The Extraordinary Voyage (2011)
The original hand-painted color version of Georges Méliès’ masterpiece, A Trip to the Moon (1902), to home video 110 years after its first release. Georges Méliès, one of the celebrated heroes of Martin Scorsese’s new movie Hugo, was a master of cinematic invention and enchantment.
Packaged in a limited-edition, SteelBook case, A Trip to the Moon also features The Extraordinary Voyage, a fascinating documentary directed by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange about the life of Georges Méliès and the magic of film history and preservation.
A Trip to the Moon (1902)
The material for A Trip to the Moon is sourced from a restored color version that had been considered lost for several decades and is presented with an original soundtrack by the French band, AIR.
In 2010, three experts in worldwide film restoration - a private collection Lobster Films, and two non-profit entities, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage - launched the most complex and ambitious restoration in the history of cinema, over 12 years, using advanced digital technologies to reassemble and restore the fragments of the 13, 375 frames.
The restoration print premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 and made a worldwide tour of international festivals including Telluride, Pordenone, Rotterdam, and the MoMA Festival of Film Preservation. Now, one of the most technically sophisticated and expensive restorations in film history, A Trip to the Moon can thrill home video audiences in its original 1902 colors.
The Extraordinary Voyage (2011)
The Extraordinary Voyage chronicles the journey of A Trip to the Moon from the fantastical Méliès’ production in 1902 to the astonishing rediscovery of a nitrate print in color in 1993, to the premiere of the new restoration on the opening night of the Cannes Film Festival in 2011.
The story of Moon’s restoration to its original 1902 colors unfolds as Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange acquire a severely damaged color print from the Filmoteca de Catalunya in 1999 and then begin the tedious task of peeling off and unrolling the nitrate prints to be able to digitize them. It took two years to discover the images on those fragments, which were then stored on a hard drive for 8 years as the technology available at the time did not allow Lobster Films to continue the landmark restoration. The documentary includes interviews with contemporary filmmakers, including Costa Gavras, Michel Gondry, Michel Hazanavicius, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet on Méliès’ enduring significance to cinema.
This limited-edition publication also contains A Trip to the Moon in a beautifully restored black and white edition from original 35 mm elements with two separate audio tracks of music: An orchestral score by Robert Israel with the original English narration written by Melies; and a second track produced by Russell Merritt consisting of a troupe of actors voicing the various characters as performed in the U.S. in 1903, with piano music by Frederick Hodges. There is also an interview with the group AIR on the restored soundtrack, and two lunar-related shorts by Méliès - The Eclipse and The Astronomer's Dream.