Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A trip to Père-Lachaise

Anyone heading to Paris for a vacation should consider paying a visit to Père-Lachaise cemetery. One of the most famous cemeteries in the world, the sprawling but peaceful Père-Lachaise is a wonderful break from the endless hustle and bustle of the city, and is home to some well-known residents, most famously Jim Morrison, Marcel Proust, Édith Piaf and Oscar Wilde. Oliver Stone filmed one of the final scenes of The Doors in Père-Lachaise, but Jim Morrison's grave today is a far more subdued scene than that depicted in the film. Over the years, the grave has been vandalized numerous times and bust of Morrison (seen in the the film) was stolen in 1988.

Another resident of Père-Lachaise I wanted to visit was Georges Méliès, the great French film maker who around the turn of the 20th century, pioneered special effects with dissolves, time-lapse photography, split screen, multiple exposures and so on. All film makers past and present owe Georges Méliès a huge debt, and arguably all Fantastic Cinema can be traced back to Méliès' early film experiments like A Trip To The Moon. Next to the bust of Méliès in the picture below, someone had left a handwritten message of gratitude, and rather amusingly someone left a business card for a video copying service !


  1. I hope that fellow got lots of business! Thank you for sharing Georges Méliès' resting place - we cinephiles owe that man an inestimable amount of gratitude. Wes, did you ever see the 12 part HBO series From the Earth to the Moon? It's a fine show - and highly recommended if you're interested in the early days of NASA and the US space program. Familiar faces abound - including a lot of people I worked with here in Wilmington. And - (relevancy) - even if you're not interested in space stuff - I still recommend tracking down the last episode - which juxtaposes Tom Hanks' final thoughts on the astronauts who fascinated him as a child with a period recreation of Georges Méliès' filming of A Trip to the Moon - which fascinated Hanks as a filmmaker.

  2. Craig, would you believe it, I have From the Earth To The Moon on DVD - a friend of mine bought it for me a few years ago for a b-day present because I'm am a bit of a space nut, but to my eternal shame and mortification, I have yet to sit down with it ! I'm completely useless when it comes to arranging time to watch boxsets. That is going to change now ! Thanks for cueing it up !