The Magic Roses, a Beautiful, Little Known Relic of Film
Made in 1906, a silent short film transports us to a magical world captivating in its artificial simplicity and enviable ingenuity.
Few things are more spectacular than an act of magic. This is even more true when such an act can be witnessed in a film more than 100 years old and surviving as one of the first examples of color in the history of film. The Magic Roses, by Spanish director, Segundo de Chomón, is an exhibition of lyrical illusionism. The very setting of the film, a flower garden, is transformed into beautiful women.
Les Roses Magiques – the original title of the 1906 French film and once attributed to the great illusionist Georges Méliès – is the earliest use of montage in film. The actual director, Chomón, was a pioneer not only in the use of visual effects but in the first techniques of color cinema. In their earliest form, films were painted by hand, frame by frame, and involved a refined, complex procedure. In The Magic Roses, the director used a coloring technique known as pochoir, which used stencils to color the images.
On a set that strongly resembles a play (as did many silent films of the day), the filmmaker introduces us into a simple dreamlike dilemma. A magician – a figure reminiscent of the illusionists of the 19th century – appears before three young people, muses and metaphors, who dance with him, only to finally be turned into flowers adorning the garden. From these three women, the magician creates a universe full of flowers, large and small, that appear and disappear using tricks of optical illusion and cinematographic montage.
In our own world of film productions, impressive 3D animations and production budgets of millions of dollars, The Magic Roses enchants with a charming simplicity. Over a span of just three minutes, the magical act – a cinematic version of the surrealism emerging at the same time – brings us to the most essential origins of the art of cinema. It reminds us that, beyond the spectacular and the grandiloquent, the cinema is itself, and has always been, but one more grand illusionist spectacle.
When ancient rituals became religion
The emergence of religions irreversibly changed the history of humanity. It’s therefore essential to ask when and how did ancient peoples’ rituals become organized systems of thought, each with their
Seven ancient maps of the Americas
A map is not the territory. —Alfred Korzybski Maps are never merely maps. They’re human projections, metaphors in which we find both the geographical and the imaginary. The cases of ghost islands
An artist crochets a perfect skeleton and internal organs
Shanell Papp is a skilled textile and crochet artist. She spent four long months crocheting a life-size skeleton in wool. She then filled it in with the organs of the human body in an act as patient
A musical tribute to maps
A sequence of sounds, rhythms, melodies and silences: music is a most primitive art, the most essential, and the most powerful of all languages. Its capacity is not limited to the (hardly trivial)
The enchantment of 17th-century optics
The sense of sight is perhaps one the imagination’s most prolific masters. That is why humankind has been fascinated and bewitched by optics and their possibilities for centuries. Like the heart, the
Would you found your own micro-nation? These eccentric examples show how easy it can be
Founding a country is, in some ways, a simple task. It is enough to manifest its existence and the motives for creating a new political entity. At least that is what has been demonstrated by the
Wondrous crossings: the galaxy caves of New Zealand
Often, the most extraordinary phenomena are “jealous of themselves” ––and they happen where the human eye cannot enjoy them. However, they can be discovered, and when we do find them we experience a
Think you have strange reading habits? Wait until you've seen how Mcluhan reads
We often forget or neglect to think about the infinite circumstances that are condensed in the acts that we consider habitual. Using a fork to eat, for example, or walking down the street and being
The sky is calling us, a love letter to the cosmos (video)
We once dreamt of open sails and Open seas We once dreamt of new frontiers and New lands Are we still a brave people? We must not forget that the very stars we see nowadays are the same stars and
The sister you always wanted (but made into a crystal chandelier)
Lucas Maassen always wanted to have a sister. And after 36 years he finally procured one, except, as strange as it may sound, in the shape of a chandelier. Maassen, a Dutch designer, asked the