More films lost to eternity than those that we have. A case in point can be made of one of the early pioneers of cinema, Georges Melies, who defined cinema as we see it today. Everything else after him has merely been a redefinition.
Auteur Martin Scorsese pays the best tribute one could have ever paid to this grandmaster of the movies in "Hugo".
Hugo (Asa Butterfied), an orphan living inside the clock in the train station of Paris in the 1930s, antagonizes a toy maker who has a shop at the station, as he tries to fix an humanoid-automaton he thinks holds a message from his dead father.
Little does he realise that the toy maker is the great filmmaker Georges Meiles, now living in reclusion and that the automaton belongs to him. However, fixing the real man would be tougher than fixing the machine.
As a film, this one is made as a children's'film -- linear and stereotypical with childlike subplots and characters. Yet, under these exteriors, it hides a soul that beats for cinema. And because of this, you most readily suspend your disbelief at the many loopholes of the film.
There was no one better to direct this movie based on a novel by Brian Selznick called "The Invention of Hugo Cabret", than director Martin Scorsese. He has not only made verbal pleas for film preservation, but also put his money where his intentions have been through the World Cinema Foundation.
Scorsese, through the story of Meiles, asks us to be kind. He gives us a glimpse into the lost world of silent cinema, whose magical visuals does not fail to delight even today.
Thus besides showing how Meiles made his most famous film "A Trip To The Moon", he punctuates his films with the works of the masters of cinema including most notably an iconic shot from Harold Lloyd's'film "Safety Last", Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.
The set design and the sound work is simply put, spectacular.
3D only enhances the mood and the atmosphere. When movies first came, the reaction of people was much more stunned than we can imagine today. When a train came chugging on the blank white screen, people got up from their seats fearing it might run them down.
Scorsese recreates this magic on film, once again, so that those of us who were not there can appreciate, and at least for the duration of the film, imagine what must have been.
Despite winning five Oscars, "Hugo", which was slated to release two months back in India, was stalled forever. Finally, this 3D spectacle comes to screens near you. It'' now your turn to see for yourself, Scorsese'' version of what must have indeed been.
Critic: Satyen K. Bordoloi
(4 / 5) : Very Good