The grave of George Méliès stands in a humble plot within a Paris graveyard. For cinema buffs, a visit to the final resting place of the “father of special effects” almost feels like a pilgrimage.
Méliès was an illusionist and film director whose contributions to cinema still exist today. He experimented with, pioneered, and popularized effects like substitution splices, multiple exposures, time-lapse photography, dissolves, hand-painted color, and the use of storyboards. Many of his films were short tech demonstrations of sorts, where one or several effects were shown in an interesting way.
He also made some of the first science fiction movies, complete with elaborate sets and effects. The best known of these movies is his 1902 classic Le Voyage dans la Lune or A Trip to the Moon. In this film, scientists shoot an astronaut to the moon using a large gun. On the moon, the astronaut then sees many strange landscapes and creatures, some nice and some hostile. Eventually, the protagonist returns to the Earth by pushing off the bullet from the Moon’s crescent and falls back to the planet.
Unfortunately, a great many of Méliès’s works were lost due to improper storage and a lack of appreciation for them. However, enough of them have been preserved to ensure his place in history.
Know Before You Go
The grave is freely accessible. Following a fundraising campaign the grave is currently (summer 2021) being restored. The grave is located in Division 64, along Avenue Circulaire, northwest from the main entrance.