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A lost George Méliès film has been unlost

‘Lost’ movie by silent film pioneer unearthed at Czech film archive

Researchers find mislabelled 1904 Georges Méliès film Match de Prestidigitation, which had been thought lost forever.

*Full article taken from The Guardian, 12 October 2016.
A still from Méliès’s La Voyage dans la Lune (1902), considered the first science fiction film.
 Méliès’s Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902) is considered the first science fiction film. Photograph: http://www.ronaldgrantarchive.com 

Researchers at the Czech national film archives have found a film by early cinema pioneer Georges Méliès that was thought to have been lost forever.

The two-minute silent film Match de Prestidigitation (“conjuring contest”) from 1904 was found on a reel given to the archives by an anonymous donor, labelled as another film.

Méliès, a stage magician turned film-maker from France, is credited with many technical and narrative developments in the 500-plus movies he made between 1896 and 1912.

“The reel was titled ‘Les Transmutations Imperceptibles’, which is the name of another work by Méliès. But our specialist immediately realised it was another film,” archives spokeswoman Jana Ulipova said.

“Based on detailed analysis and research at the national library of France, among other places, we can say with certainty that it is Match de Prestidigitation, up to now considered lost.”

The recovered film shows a magician who divides into two. The doubles then take turns to perform tricks before merging back into one man.

“We are planning to show the film in cinemas as part of a collection of Méliès works,” Ulipova said.

The Czech archives have 22 movies by Méliès, whose Le Voyage dans la Lune (“A Trip to the Moon”) from 1902 is seen by many as the first science-fiction film.

Most of the films made by Méliès, who died in 1938, have been lost.

A painstakingly restored colour version of Le Voyage dans la Lune was screened at France’s Cannes film festival in 2011.

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