It’s one of the most indelible sequences in the movies, a few fleeting images of a spaceship crudely smashing into the moon’s eye. And yet its most spectacular incarnation has waited more than 100 years since A Trip the Moon’s original release in 1902 to reach us.
Georges Méliès’ short classic always existed in both black-and-white and hand-colored versions, but it was long believed that, like a depressing amount of Méliès’ work, the color reels were lost with the decline of his production house. A color print was finally discovered in 1993 in Barcelona, but it was badly decomposed, and soon after a long restoration effort was born.
The wait finally ended last year with a splashy premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, with a fully restored color presentation of the film and a tripped-out new soundtrack by the French band Air—who also worked on the soundtracks of Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation—that A.O. Scott of The New York Times called “a cinematic highlight of the year, maybe the century.” After a presentation at the New York Film Festival, the Film Society will bring this once-in-a-generation restoration to the Film Center Amphitheater for a one-week run beginning on Friday.
Priced at special low rates—starting at just $7 for members (become a member)—the new version of A Trip to the Moon will screen with The Extraordinary Voyage, a documentary chronicle of the long effort to resort the print. Stretching from Barcelona to Los Angeles, the film reconstructs the painstaking process of bringing the color print back to life, include a nearly decade-long wait for new technology to be invented.
The run starting this weekend coincides with the album release of Air’s Le Voyage Dans La Lune, a complete new soundtrack of tracks from and inspired by the new version of the film. Filter called the album “as thrilling and replete with the unexpected as one might imagine a trip outside the Earth's atmosphere would be.”
Watch a clip from the restored film below, and head here to buy tickets to our limited engagement!