I love films, but this has been a bad year for them until very recently. I think I've seen less than half a dozen since last summer! When I like a film, I am thinking how much I'd love to study it, to watch it again and again, even while I watch it for the first time.
My first time watching Hugo (the 3-D version), yesterday, was such an experience. From the very first shot, an amazing panorama of a wintry 19th century Paris,likened to the mechanical workings of a clock, I was transfixed, studying the camera angles, noting the allusions to famous films and film-makers as well as art. It would be a delicious film to teach, but sadly, I if I ever do get to do so, 3-D won't be accessible. And I can't even really afford to go see it again in that format since 3-D movies cost a lot! I am not accustomed to paying that much to go to a movie; it was more than the play last night.
The film tells the story of a young orphan, Hugo Cabret, son of a watchmaker, who lives in a clock tower at the train station, where he winds and repairs the giant station clock. This fact gave Scorcese a chance to have the character reprise the famous scene of Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock, high above the street, in the film Safety First, which is also showcased in Scorcese's movie.
The best part of the film was the director's version of the silent films of George Melies, most of which are lost. However, most of us who have studied movies have seen stills from his films, particularly the one I have put up here, Voyage to the Moon. Hugo was a love letter to cinema, from start to finish. It was beautiful, and ought to take every prize this year. It probably won't though.