7 December 2011

Last week Hugo was announced as film of the year by the National Board of Review in their awards ceremony in New York.  Not only that but Scorsese was also crowned director of the year! Pretty impressive! The film opened at FACT on Friday but will still be with us for a couple more weeks if you haven't seen it yet.

If you are used to the films of Scorsese (Goodfellas, Taxi Driver and the recent George Harrison documentary Living in the Material World for example) you'll realise that the 3D animation Hugo is a new step for the director. The story is an adaptation of the children's story The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick which is about Hugo, a young boy that lives in a Paris train station winding up all the clocks, supposedly the job of his drunken uncle who has vanished. Take a look at the fascinating illustrations on the  book's website.

As well as winding up the clocks, Hugo spends his days trying to restore his late father's robot. He finds help from an old man who is actually the famous and pioneering French filmmaker Georges Méliès. This is when Hugo starts to appeal to cinephiles as well as children and the film begins to make more sense as a Scorsese production. Other nods to the nostalgic era of cinema include one of the special effects highlights of the film where people run away from an escapee steam train. This is reminiscent of the gasps caused when the Lumière brothers' 50-second short showing the arrival of a train was first shown in 1930's stereoscopic 3D.