The first movie on my edition of 1001 Movies to See Before You Die (the one from 2006, with Jack Nicholson on the cover) is A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage Dans la Lune), by Georges Méliès. It is a 1902 production, from the time movies were mostly experimentation and sheer magic born on the mind of such amazing dreamers as Méliès.
I first saw it a couple of decades ago, in a festival of early cinema. It was just amazing. I was amazed. Once I've read that The Beatles had created magic with scarce technical resources. It is the same about these first movies. And Le Voyage Dans la Lune is one of the masterful examples of early cinema. Its 13 minutes are a wonder. The coloring by hand is so simple and pretty... The visual effects a joy to see nowadays.
It was not for nothing that this movie and Méliès became the subject of other magic story. first in a book that looks like a movie, written by Brian Selznick. After, in a movie that honours the book it was based on. Yep, the story is The Invention of Hugo Cabret, turned into the movie Hugo by the incredible Martin Scorsese.
A friend gave me the book some years ago, before it became a movie. I was already on my PhD studies, and she told me how it had reminded her of me. The first pages on the book is a filme sequence. There's no words, the images on page tell the beginning of this story. It is beautiful. Scorsese traced the opposite path on his movie: the writing and pages are there, as are the outstanding illustrations on Selznick book. A full circle of a dreamy homage to one of the biggest filmmakers of the all time.
I've watched Le Voyage Dans la Lune in many other opportunities - I must say that it is one of the 302 listed on Steven Jay Schneider that I've already seen. All the times I've seen it were an incredible trip. I saw the original costumes in the French Cinematheque (unfortunately, one of the most hostile places I've ever visited). It was overwhelming, as this movie and what it represents.
I'm happy that Schneider listed it as the #1 in his chronological order of movies to see before we die. I don't know if I'll be able to see them all, but this one is already a big achievement.
PS: The trivia on imdb.com is simple, but a cinema lesson anyway.