#1. A Trip to the Moon (1902)

a-trip-to-the-moon_poster_goldposter_com_8There was a girl named V. whom I saw casually for about a year and whose house I visited pretty often, as she did mine, although we never spent a full night together nor, I think, even really dozed off in each other’s company, or at least never at the same time, because although I was drinking a lot back then and would, after sex, almost invariably nod off for twenty minutes or so, she did not, and I never saw her drunk nor even, I think, tired; partly I never saw her drunk because she was just shy of 21, whereas I was just past it, but also partly because she was a fan of wine, and I was not, and her tastes would have probably been too refined for whatever grocery store label I brought around anyway. She had hazel eyes and if you told her they were pretty she’d tell you she already knew it and she was a little bashful about being 4’11” but also, I think, liked it. Together we watched Dior & I, Bananas, Wayne’s World 2 and the last Paranormal Activity movie. The one time we went swimming together it was late at night and she insisted on going topless. I asked if she wasn’t afraid of other people seeing her and she said she wasn’t. I said, “What about mosquitos?” and she ignored me and dipped her head under the water. She cried on my chest before moving to Orlando for her sophomore year at UCF but things didn’t work out while she was up there. She was back in Miami two months later. By then we’d each slept with one other person but we talked about it and agreed that it was fine and we picked up where we’d left off. She rented a room in Kendall. Started working at a clothing store and was earning so little money that she was subsisting for a while on like a taco a day, with odd little snacks here and there, but she never complained about it because, having kept a vegan diet for so many years at that point, she said she was accustomed to small portions. V. was the one who first told me I should see A Trip to the Moon (though she referred to it by the French title) because it was, as she put it, “cute.”

Now that I’ve seen it I can agree that it’s cute, kinda, but there’s also definitely something sinister about it. It’s about a troupe of wizards who ride a bullet-shaped spaceship to the moon where, after a quick nap, the wizard chief (whatever) kills a bunch of the native creatures who live there. Then he kills their leader. Then he kidnaps one of the creatures, brings it back to Earth, and puts it in a zoo.

I’m realizing, in looking for stills from the movie, that any given frame is harder to make sense of on its own. Easier to understand what’s what in the shot by seeing it unfold.

I had to look the movie up on Wikipedia afterward because I didn’t totally understand how they got off the moon, and I saw something saying that the movie is apparently a satire of colonialism. Why hasn’t it occurred to me that this could be satire? This happens to be an issue in my daily life. That I’m deaf to sarcasm.

Anyway. Even as a satire, I feel like this movie couldn’t be made today. I mean obviously there’s no chance they’d remake it as it is now. It’s fucking twelve minutes long and silent. But you know what I mean. Even something like Blazing Saddles. However benign or upstanding the intentions, or even the influence, I think a depiction of this kinda thing would be vilified and doomed by the press before it even hit theaters.

The overacting made it funny, as I’m guessing was the intention, but I’m wondering if this will become an issue through the silent era. That I laugh when they’re trying to be serious.

You can find the movie here.


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