Last night I went to the MoMA for a screening of the legendary 1902 silent film Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip To The Moon) by revered director Georges Méliès with an original score by French duo AIR. The film was originally made in black/white and hand-painted color version, with the color version thought to have been long destroyed after in 1923 Méliès attempted to burn his collection of film negatives. The only known color version was found in Spain in 1993 and the painstaking process of restoring the movie began. Restoration was completed in 2010.
AIR’s Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel were approached by the two foundations who restored the classic film to compose an original modern soundtrack. With a deadline of only one month AIR worked day and night to create modern sounds for the classic images. A new version of film was born 109 years after the original debut. Inspired by this project AIR returned to the studio and developed a whole album based on Le Voyage Dans La Lune.
AIR did a wonderful job juxtaposing the film’s cotton candy colors with dark, mysterious, and emotional melodies.
Then came Q&A with AIR, who explained their appreciation for the psychedelic yet spiritual nature of the film and how they wanted to add modern mystery and darkness.
Dunkel: “With that static, vintage look, our music had to have dynamism, energy and modernity.”
Godin: “We wanted it to sound “handmade,” knocked together, a bit like Méliès’s special effects.”
After the screening everyone headed to France! …or the closest thing to France in New York, the French Embassy for an after party. Joie de vivre!
AIR’s new album comes out February 7th
Special thanks to Lacey Rutter at VH1 for inviting me.