Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Air x George Méliès' Le Voyage dans la Lune

A restored version of George Méliès’ legendary 1902 film Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon) is to be released on DVD in February, backed by a soundtrack from my favourite French Loungecore duo, Air.
Versaille-born Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin - renowned for their ambient electronica compositions - previously created the score for Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides and also contributed pieces to the films Lost In Translation and Marie Antoinette. Their latest production is a gentle psychedelic mix of instrumentals and songs, which perfectly compliment the newly restored film's hallucinatory feel and kaleidoscopic palette.

La Voyage dans la Lune - loosely based on the novels ‘From the Earth to the Moon’ by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells ‘The First Men In The Moon’ - is widely considered to be one of the most important science-fiction works in cinema, pioneering state-of-the-art special effects.

The only colour reel of the film (hand-painted by 
Méliès) was rediscovered in 1993 by the Filmoteca de Catalunya, in a state of almost total decomposition. After nearly two decades of painstaking, manual restoration (and digital technology to the rescue), the new print was premiered at film festivals last year, including the world famous Cannes Film Festival.

Air's contribution to the re-release has given a classic silent film a contemporary spin, and also expands beyond a cinematic instrumental score, to include the vocal talents and lyrics of Au Revoir Simone and Victoria Legrand (Beach House).

It's also fitting that after the band's 1998 album Moon Safari, which was a musical exploration into their lunar fascinations; here they are making another cosmic journey into "space".
As Benoît Dunckel says, “Music has to make you leave the Earth".


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