The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Come and dream with me

with 5 comments

” My friends, I address you all tonight as you truly are; wizards, mermaids, travellers, adventurers, magicians… Come and dream with me.”

It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

I wish I had found up those words myself, but I’m afraid I haven’t. It’s Georges Méliès who says them in a scene in Hugo as a film screening is about to start.

I don’t know who put them in his mouth. Maybe it was John Logan, the screenwriter. Maybe it was in the original book. Or who knows, maybe it was Martin Scorsese who had come up with them in the hope that he one day might use them in his Oscar speech?

Regardless of which, something happened inside me as I heard those words. It felt like a beam of light finding its way into a forgotten storage room. Something came alive, just like what had happened to the automaton in the movie.

Once again I felt the magic of cinema and it sent shivers along my spine.

When Hollywood embraces you with a group hug that includes all filmmakers and film fans from the dawn of movies until today, it’s hard to not to be moved, especially if you’re a cinephile.

I’m not entirely sure how well it works on non-cinephiles, who don’t care particularly much for film restoration projects and wouldn’t watch a silent film even if they were paid to do it.

If I had been a member of the marketing department at the film company, I probably would have had some doubts about the potential of this movie. I would ask a lot of uncomfortable questions.

“Exactly who do you think is the target audience? Who did you have in mind? Adults? It’s a fairly tale! Kids? It’s about silent films, can they care about such things? Can we really get back the money it will take to make all those effects you have in mind? Why not settle for something… simpler?”

But fortunately I don’t work there. And fortunately Martin Scorsese has probably been so successful in the past that he’s allowed to do something that is more personal than commercial. He’ll be forgiven.

So here I was, enjoying the hell out of this film, splashing in cinematic enthusiasm and nostalgia and sense of wonder.

Sure, the 3D effects didn’t add all that much to be honest, but at least they were so well employed that they weren’t in the way for my enjoyment of the film. Well, apart from when it got really emotional on a couple of occasions and I started to cry. Crying with glasses on is never a good idea. For movies like Hugo, they should provide them with wipers.

For various reasons I feel a bit under the ice as I’m writing this post. While not completely broken, I’m kind of scratched. A little bit emo if you want to put it that way.

But if Hugo taught me anything, it is that broken things can be fixed. There’s hope even for the mechanisms you thought were beyond any help.

Come and dream with me, says Scorsese to me. He doesn’t have to ask me twice.

Hugo (Martin Scorsese, US, 2011) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

April 12, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in Hugo, Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. I wonder if I’m not really a cinephile, or at least not in the way most self-labled cinephiles tend to see themselves, because when I hear people talk about movies for cinephiles, they’re invariable films I dislike or am apathetic towards.

    Hugo is yet another I added to the list.

    It’s slow, meandering storytelling and fauning of film history annoyed and isolated me. By the end I’m left cold and distant. I appreciate Melies films, I think they’re an important part of our history, but I just find the romantacism too codling, too overnuturing, blind to the flaws and limitations of a childish medium still in growing pains.

    I love films to much to smother them like Scorsese. I want them to have space to grow, mature and come into their own instead of romantisizing their childishness. Sure, I look back on them fondly, but I also seen what they’ve become, how they’ve come into their own, are no longer waddling about like unsteady infants taking their first stepts.

    Sure, dreaming can be wonderful, it can take us so many places, but I feel like this film fails to recognize the growth that leads to such technological and asthetic tools that made film even more magical and wonderful.

    Maybe I’m missing the forest from the trees, maybe I’m nitpicking too much, but it’s only because I love films to much to fall into romanticizing them to death.

    James Blake Ewing

    April 12, 2012 at 2:44 am

    • Oh the movie isn’t without flaws I suppose. I didn’t care much for the police character for instance. Too cartoonish. Those downers here and there keeps me from giving it the highest rating. But nevertheless… the magic was there for me, in that moment. I’m not sure if it’s about cinephilia or not tbh. It’s more like personal chemistry perhaps.


      April 12, 2012 at 7:47 am

  2. I’ve never been to worried about labels like “cinephile” and whether I am or am not one. I just like watching movies and sometimes sharing my opinions with others. One that I will share here is that you wrote a great post on a great movie. Hugo was right there with The Artist for me as the best movie of 2011.


    April 12, 2012 at 4:06 am

    • Thanks Chip! I would rate The Artist a little higher, but still: I liked Hugo quite a bit. I wish I had seen it before the Oscar thing. Then I could have rejoiced a little bit more perhaps at it being awarded with stuff.


      April 12, 2012 at 7:48 am

  3. […] Hugo Martin Scorsese lets his inner film geek out in full freedom. I was enchanted, despite the 3D. […]

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