Thanksgiving with Martin Scorsese and Hugo
“Well, the first couple of minutes were kind of like, what the hell am I doing here, but then it gets totally amazing. I loved it.” — giggled the girl at the next table at the Arc Light cafe as we spontaneously chatted about movies pre-show. It is the single most talked about film at the moment and according to The Hollywood Reporter who did a multi-page spread on Marty, truly an ode to curators and film historians. And indeed it is. The story itself is about a man (George Melies)who against all odds took a passing fad invention of the Lumiere Brothers and created magic on screen in the earliest days of film.
And indeed it was a bit twisty in the beginning of the film. But then, isn’t history full of ideas and images and stories that we don’t understand until we invest the time to track back and trace the beginnings of their lineage? Without doing a full critique of the film, which would give it all away – and you should see it for yourself, to say that HUGO is special really hits the home run of why we love film. Mr. Scorcese’s appearance as a photographer/filmmaker of the period, in his own film pulls a surreal focus and in a a brief few seconds of action and reaction, we really come to understand his heart and how his love of film craft and film history, and film people has really shaped his destiny into becoming one of the foremost curators himself along with other great directors of our time, like Steven Spielberg, who have laboriously and meticulously collected, restored and saved so many of what, are now, thankfully archival treasures of pure, genius. Yes, I cried. It is hard not to when you also realize that this story is not about just the story, but about this greater, marvelous, theme. In it’s way, it is like, “a history of the world” really.
As I watched I couldn’t help but feel a sense of complete joy, having spent time working with Mr. Scorcese in the Departed. How lucky I was to have had more than moments collaborating in the company of a person with so much passion and who has been able to realize that passion for the world. It is overwhelming. I found an article online by another writer which I think perfectly puts this all in perspective (click here to read).