Earlier this month, at the New York Film Festival, Martin Scorsese previewed his upcoming live action 3D film Hugo, an adaptation of Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic, 2007).
This illustrated novel (lots of images, few words) for young readers won the 2008 Caldecott Medal and was described by John Schwartz in a NY Times review in 2007 as a “silent film on paper.” It’s one of those print projects that was inspired by another medium—film—and it’s delightful to see that the inspiration has come full circle, with the print project inspiring a new film.
Reviews of the sneak preview of Hugo are excited about the way in which Scorsese uses modern film technologies to pay homage to early film. In a sense, this is kind of like the way modern ebook technology pays homage to the printed word—which, like film imagery, is never out of style. It’s just the way we ingest it (the printed word, and film for that matter) that changes.
All the same, I think many people living through the digital revolution of the twenty-first century—no matter what their age–feel a bit like the early silent-movie audiences who ran out of the theater in fear and awe as they watched the filmic arrival of the train in La Ciotat station in the Melies brothers’ 1895 film (clip at top). It seemed to be coming right through the screen. But, the audiences kept coming back, and they still are.
Hugo is slated to open on Thanksgiving weekend.
Don’t forget to check in next week for more from TFCB!
[film clip, YouTube.com; book cover, Wikipedia.com]