The Art of Melies

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Three costume sketches by Georges Melies from the book French Elegance in the Cinema, which looks at the influence of French fashion and costume designers in film.

It’s a bit of a grab-bag — a lengthy gallery at the back uses slightly random images from the Cinematheque Francaise’s vast collection of costume sketches, many of which don’t have any obvious French connection, but all of which are interesting. The text pays particular attention to Jean-Louis and to designers like Schiaparelli and Givenchy who had a major influence on movie design.

I like costume sketches and production design sketches. Movies throw out all these items, from scripts to publicity stills, which are art forms in themselves while contributing to the greater whole.

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I’m dissatisfied with this scan, though. Scanners don’t seem to be able to handle the way books fold in the middle. You’d think that since the book predated the scanner, it’d be the scanner that’d have to adapt. I want a very thin sheet that I can just slot int between the leaves of the book, or else a kind of dry liquid I can spread on the illustration and then peel off, capturing a digital image in the mercury-like fluid. I’m sure Melies would agree.

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Something tells me this gay imp was meant to be played by old Georges himself.
French Elegance in the Cinema

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