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JOY DIVISION (2007) 93 min.

Filmmaker Grant Gee speaks with now-deceased Factory Records founder Tony Wilson; legendary producer Martin Hannett; surviving Joy Division band members Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, and Peter Hook; and the late Ian Curtis's Belgian lover Annik Honoré in order to offer a vivid snapshot of the fleeting moment in time when Manchester's Joy Division changed the face of modern music.

In 1980, as the band was set to embark on their first-ever North American tour, Curtis took his own life at the age of 23. In addition to offering the remarkable story of Joy Division as told by the very people who were privileged enough to have been there at that crucial moment in musical history, Gee's film also offers a meditation on the city that was struggling to reinvent itself following a devastating collapse. While Curtis's widow Deborah does not appear onscreen, text from her biography Touching from a Distance appear as a constant reminder of her presence in the talented musician's brilliant but fleeting life. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

A TRIP TO THE MOON (1902) 8 min.

A Trip to the Moon is the most famous of the over 500 short films produced by cinema pioneer Georges Méliès betwen 1896 and 1912, and its signature image of a bullet-shaped rocket lodging itself in the eye of a smirking moon is one of the most recognizable images in cinema history.

An accomplished magician, Méliès moved from simple recordings of his stage shows to dazzling fantasy epics which were among the first narrative films ever made. These "trick films" combined fantastic yarns, intricate painted sets, and elaborate costumes with such simple but effective special effects as slow motion, dissolves, and superimpositions. Like Méliès's other long films of the period, Trip to the Moon is composed of a series of tableaux, each featuring chaotic action and multiple camera tricks photographed with a stubbornly static camera, which work together to tell a simple story. It proved sensationally popular with audiences, though Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery rode a slightly more sophisticated narrative to greater success the following year.

As one of the earliest examples of cinematic fantasy, A Trip to the Moon paved the way for such filmic flights of fancy as The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars, as it proved that the seduction of the audience through special effects has roots deeper than the blockbusters of the Seventies. ~ Mark Pittillo, Rovi



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