Rejsen til månen
"A trip to the moon" is the first movie on the list and also the first on I searched out to see. It turned out to be a detour that took me around much of early cinema.
I found an excellent compilation called "Primitives and Pioneers" from BFI (The British Film Institute) that hosted almost anything worth seeing from the first 10 years of cinema. Highly recommended! It includes such landmark films as "Arrival of a train", Exit from the factory and "The great train robbery" plus tons of other small gems including some Melies. However not "A trip to the moon". I did not really mind though. One of my friend have little home cinema under his roof with a projector. Sitting there watching these old pieces was like being back in a cinema around the turn of the century.
Eventually I found a Melies anthology with lots of his work and plenty of background material. It turns out that the magician George Melies used the early moving pictures as part of his magic shows and this gradually developed into little magic movies. "A trip to the moon" is just the most well known of them.
Even people who claim to know nothing of early cinema will recognize the image of the moon with a rocket in the eye. It is iconic. Of course with the recent "Hugo" film by Scorsese Melies is now known to a broader audience, but for me much of this was new stuff.
As a movie "A trip to the moon" is a simple, fast paced and two dimensional movie, but that is because we are watching it with a modern eye. To the contemporary audience this was pure magic.
The reason why we find it interesting is as a historic piece. It is with a reverent feeling I watch this. This is where it began. "Arrival of a train" gave the technique". "A voyage to the moon" gave us the concept.
If I go to Jelling I see a stone with some odd carvings on it. There are other and prettier worked stones around but that is not the point. The point is that this is where Denmark started a thousand years ago. That gives this boulder a meaning way beyond what it appears and that is what "A voyage to the moon" is. A monument to cinema.