Saturday, November 19, 2016

Miserably Timely 114 Year Old Film "A Trip to the Moon"

In trying to dig myself out of the heavy depression that set on since Tuesday November 8th election, I decided the best course of action was two part.  The first is to voice resistance, agitate, petition and donate.  The second is a more self-preserving action; to witness more exquisite human creation, stay in touch with human empathy through art.  In the last few days I went to see Lois Dodd's show at Swarthmore College, a concert at a local venue Boot and Saddle, started back on reading On Beauty by Zadie Smith, all in all feeling better about being a human being.  

It gave me the momentum to deny myself more wallowing in nytimes, cnn etc and seek out a film instead.  I found this short little film on Netflix called "A Trip to the Moon", it was produced in 1902 and each frame is hand painted.  And as beautiful as some of the sets are, I have been haunted by this thing.  It's awful in its message and exacting in its relevance.

The premise is this group of explorers take a rocket to the moon.  Of course, only men can actually go in the ship, the women just wear the same strange outfits to assist them into the rocket and send it off into space, (sick of women getting no credit for these menial tasks.)  

 When the group gets to the moon, which is illustrated as a blinding ketchup bottle to the eye (ominous of the mucking up humans are about to do) they find alien life there.

These inhabitants of their own planet curiously look on at the newcomers and do little dances on a log.  Which prompts the group of Rocket Men to start detonating puffs of pink and green gas from their umbrellas to kill the inhabitants.

Somehow they are invited into the capital, brought by the inhabitants.  The Rocket Men pretend to look around innocently and then as the king is welcoming them, the leader goes up, grabs him and smashes him into the ground in a puff of gas.  

The group goes back to Earth to celebrate in a town gathering where a statue depicting the Rocket Man with his foot crushing the moon's head is erected to commemorate what they have done.  

Fuck.  It's 1902 in America.


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