Summoning the Spirits (1899) Review
Synopsis: A magician presents a wreath which in turn transforms into other things.|
Original title: Évocation Spirite
Also known as: Invoking the Spirits
Here at Codex Mortis, we generally review only feature-length movies, not shorts or series. But in light of the often-brief nature of the oldest cinematic treasures, we make an exception for movies released before 1920.
This is a silent short from 1899. Like many of other shorts by director Georges Méliès (including The Sign of the Cross) this film does not have a plot but is more in line with a magician’s stage performance. Méliès himself was an illusionist and frequently made shorts that mimicked work he was doing in front of audiences.
While many of Méliès’ films show off his artistry and proficiency in a wide range of cinematic techniques, Summoning the Spirits mainly focuses on one. In what is still an impressive achievement, Méliès’ magician shows off an empty wreath that he can fill with images of horror, beauty, – and, finally, himself.
Watching shorts from this time period is always intriguing just based on the technical skill these early artists employed when trying to develop tricks of the trade to convey their stories. Méliès was well-known for his abilities, and this is a brief – but interesting – look at one of his particular techniques.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: B