The Bioscope, Luke McKernan’s invaluable blog, notes that tomorrow the Cannes Film Festival is presenting “what may be the film restoration to beat all other film restorations—the colour version of Georges Méliès‘ Le voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon) (1902).” While the film is far from being lost, all known hand-colored prints of the film were considered lost until 1993, when a copy, in very poor shape, was turned up by Filmoteca de Catalunya in Barcelona. The print was then acquired by Serge Bromberg’s Lobster Films, who overcame great odds to restore the film in time for Méliès’ 150th birth year celebration.
Further information on the restoration can be found at the Technicolor Film Foundation website, where you can also download a pdf of a gorgeous 192-page book, La couleur retrouvée du Voyage dans la Lune/A Trip to the Moon Back in color, in both French and English, from whence came the illustrations for this post.
Bromberg, whose Lobster Films (along with Dave Shepard’s Film Preservation Associates) is one of the most respected brands in classic films on DVD, also serves as Artistic Director of the Annecy International Animation Festival. I only met Bromberg once, during one of his visits to Los Angeles, when he paid a call on animator and film collector Mark Kausler. At the time, Bromberg was elated over his recent discovery of a different cache of Méliès films, which I believe he had turned over to the La Cinémathèque française. Thank God, his enthusiasm for Méliès and his films has not wavered.