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L’homme à la tête de caoutchouc (1901) – Georges Méliès

L’Homme à la tête de Caoutchouc (The Man With The Rubber Head) was directed by film pioneer Georges Méliès in 1901.

The special effects might not look surprising now, but the superimposition and scale change film techniques were both groundbreaking at the time. From FilmJournal.net:

Méliès achieves this by a simple trompe l’oeil effect: the background remains static throughout, but the superimposed element (Méliès’ own head) is filmed with a camera that is moving towards and away from it. Because the background fools us into thinking that the film has been shot entirely from a fixed camera position (as are the vast majority of Méliès’ films), the illusion is instantly convincing. Like all experienced stage performers, Méliès knew that a single head-inflation wouldn’t be enough – so he contrives to include two…

…Deservedly regarded as one of Georges Méliès’ supreme masterpieces, The Man with the Rubber Head represented one of his most significant technical advances since the not dissimilar The Four Troublesome Heads (Un Homme de têtes, 1898).

In the archives, more silent films, including Méliès’ Le voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon).

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