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Le voyage à travers l'impossible (1904) in arquia/film archive


Directed by Georges Méliès in 1904, the film is based on the play by Jules Verne and Adolphe d'Ennery, of the same name. 

The plot centres on the trip around the world made by a group of scientists from the Geographic Institute. The trip required building a several vehicles that were loaded on a train for the journey, which begins in the Swiss Alps. Their adventure crosses the ocean and takes them to the sun.

Georges Méliès carried out four adaptations of the works of Jules Verne: Le Voyage dans la lune (1902), Le Voyage à travers l’impossible (1904) Vingt milles lieus sous les mer s (1907) and À la conquête du pôle (1911), which show his critical view of the technology that transformed the building environment.

Mélies, like Jules Verne, uses technological change, scientific discoveries and exploration throughout his films and rarely shows unknown or futuristic technology, but rather adapts the innovations that occur at the time.

In Le Voyage à travers l'impossible , the film shows the industrial environment, created from scenarios that represent the reality of the industrial revolution of the moment and which already appeared in Le voyage dans la lune . Mélies not only uses technology as a scenario, but instils his films with a critical view of the threats and uncertainties generated by new technologies, through scenes in which the characters are placed in situations of extreme danger. The flying train in Le Voyage à travers l'impossible suffers devastating accidents in which passengers just barely survive. Méliès' characters suffer accidents at the hands of new inventions, such as cars, trains, factory machinery, laboratories and workshops.

These disasters, caused by new modes of transportation and industrial accidents due to the introduction of machinery, were common in the late nineteenth century. Méliès scenes are inspired by real catastrophes, such as the collapse of the railway bridge built by Gustave Eiffel near Münschestein, Switzerland.

It is noteworthy that the video "Heaven for Everyone" by the group Queen, includes images of this film.

Reference: Studios Before the System: Architecture, Technology, and the Emergence of Cinematic Space (2015) Brian R. Jacobson


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