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Wednesday, April 24 2024

Hugo: An ode to the history of cinema

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Hugo is all about the magic of filmmaking. Directed by Martin Scorsese, it is based on Brian Selznick’s 2007 children’s novel ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret.’ It stars Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, and Jude Law. It’s Scorsese’s first family film.

Hugo was nominated for 11 Academy Awards (including Best Picture) and won five of them including Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Visual Effects.

It tells the journey of a 12-year-old orphan boy named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) who lives alone within the walls of a train station in 1930s Paris. He ensures that all of the station clocks are kept in good condition so as to avoid being caught by the inspector. He was left alone after his father’s death. However, Winstone, his drunken uncle, raises him and teaches him how to work the train station clocks. Later he is left alone once again after his uncle goes missing and he manages to keep the clocks running.

Hugo has been working on a unique machine that he and his father discovered years ago in an abandoned theatre. It’s known as an automaton and his only dream in life is to discover the secret of his late father’s broken automation device.

One day, Hugo is caught stealing machine parts from the toy shop owner, Papa Georges (Ben Kingsley), who takes him for a thief, forces Hugo to empty his pockets and finds Hugo’s father’s notebook including detailed drawings of the automaton. His quest to solve the mystery is set into motion when he meets the adventure-seeking goddaughter of Pappa Georges.

The discovery makes Papa Georges furious. Along with Papa Georges’s goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), Hugo sets out to find the buried past. It turns out that Isabelle’s godfather is none other than Georges Méliès, the great French illusionist and film pioneer. During his career, he directed 531 films, many of which combined fantasy and science fiction.

The film also features Jules Verne’s science-fiction classic From the Earth to the Moon (1865), which was the inspiration for his most famous film, A Trip to the Moon (1902).

By convincing the world that he died in the Great War, Georges has tried to erase the “old days” and the accolades he deserves as an artistic pioneer. The second half of the film depicts an extended sequence of the filmmaking process in his on-site film studio. After this, the quest for the past is about to change, which is an amazing experience worth watching.

The film is laced through Hugo’s adventure in the underlying message about the power of movies that is the ability to dream and imagine.

This film shows what it was like making these old movies. The sets, costumes, and the magic of it all are on display which is indeed a visual treat. The production design’s light and colour are intensified to create an emotive fairy tale world.

The costumes are well-made, colourful, and one-of-a-kind. It succeeds on every aspect of filmmaking, with an incredible plot that complements its beautiful visuals. Scorsese directed the film with finesse and will for sure appeal to everyone who appreciates the art of cinema.

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Reshma B.

Reshma Babu, a young Postgraduate in Mass Communication and Journalism from St. Aloysius College, Mangalore University, utilises her considerable learned journalistic knowledge and inherent story writing and sub-editing abilities to add value to the company’s media brands and the editorial team. All dimensions of human interaction are her prime focus.

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