The magic of George Méliès lands in Pamplona

Start the show at Sarasate promenade with an exhibition space of 200 m2 dedicated to the pioneer of cinematography George Melies. The La Caixa Foundation and the Pamplona City Council have scheduled the show ‘The show begins. George Méliès and the cinema of 1900’, an exhibition with original and audiovisual projections of his own production, apparatus, models and photographic copies on this versatile French artist, one of the forerunners of world cinematography and father of the science fiction genre in the celluloid. With the life of Méliès, director, producer, screenwriter and magician, the exhibition reviews the beginning of an art that was born with fairs, grew with the railway and caravans with generators, and ended up stopping at movie theaters that, for back then, they were considered dangerous.

This morning they have approached the exhibition space the mayor Enrique Mayan, the director of Caixabank Institutions at DT Ebro, Miguel Navarrete, the delegate of the Fundación la Caixa in Navarra, Izaskun Azcona, and the curator of the exhibition, Sergi Martín. After taking this guided tour of the room, set in a fair at the turn of the century, the exhibition has been opened to the public until October 4, Monday through Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. hours, and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 12 noon to 7 pm. Admission is free, but it is necessary to reserve a place by calling 900 223040 or at To facilitate management, there is a digital totem in the space where the operation can be carried out in a simple way.

One of the exhibitors of the sample. Pamplona City Council

Within its cultural programming, the Fundación la Caixa pays preferential attention to fundamental artistic manifestations in the formation of contemporary sensibility. The exhibitions dedicated to cinema are framed in this line, which, together with photography, is the most characteristic artistic form of the 20th century. In recent years, the entity has dedicated retrospective exhibitions to great names in the world of cinema, such as Charles Chaplin, Federico Fellini and, now, Georges Méliès. As usual in itinerant proposals from la Caixa, school visits are planned by appointment by calling 900 80 11 37, as well as guided tours for the general public at different times, both in Spanish and Basque.

The exhibition also includes “Participate Méliès”, an educational activity related to the exhibition, open to everyone – general public, family and school – and which offers visitors the opportunity to demonstrate their ingenuity and creativity by being inspired by the tricks of the inventor of special effects. All you need is a device that can record (camera, video, mobile or tablet) and use some of the tricks characteristic of Méliès’s cinema, such as substitution, superimposition or scale games.

Three spaces to tour an entire era

The son of a shoe entrepreneur, Méliès (1861-1938) was a cartoonist, magician, artifact maker, theater director, actor, decorator and technician, as well as a producer, director and distributor of more than 500 films between 1896 and 1912. In 1913 he shot his last film. Already in ruins, after losing the distribution of his films in favor of the production company Pathè, he ended up burning a large part of his films and rebuilding his life in a toy store at Montparnasse station. The efforts of other French filmmakers managed to rehabilitate his name, recover a large part of his work, provide him with financial support in old age and obtain for him the highest decoration of the French state, the Legion of Honor.

The stills from ‘Le voyage dans la Lune’ (1902, France, 15′), Méliès’s first official film, are already part of the iconic education of many generations. The exhibition is divided into three parts, one of them dedicated precisely to this film. Compared to the documentary cinema of the Lumière brothers, Méliès was the first to introduce new content based on fiction: he incorporated the script, the actors, the lighting and the sets. His passion as a magician led him to imagine effects and tricks that were very popular at the time: pyrotechnics, optical effects, horizontal and vertical drop-downs, camera stops, chained fades, overprints, montage and color effects, etc., with a plot halfway between fantastic stories and travel literature, dating back to the 19th century. The film was inspired by works by Jules Verne and HG Wells.

And it is that at the end of the 19th century the fairs, with their barracks, their caravans with generator sets and their attractions, between illusionism, monsters and the supernatural, were very popular places. Not so the movie theaters that, due to the May 1897 fire at the Bazar de la Charité (Paris) in which 140 people died, were treated by the authorities as very dangerous places. From 1897 to 1905 there were very few stable movie theaters and the projections spread with the itinerant fairs and the magazines associated with them, educating the public in a new visual language. Then came the lucrative business of production companies, the ban on showing films at fairs, the First World War and the bankruptcy and ruin of Méliés, after having reigned in the world of the fantastic genre for almost 20 years.

With the participation of La Cinémathèque Française

The organization and production of ‘The show begins. George Méliès and the cinema of 1900’ is from Fundación la Caixa, with the participation of La Cinémathèque Française. The exhibition is curated by: Sergi Martín, screenwriter and writer. Graduated in Cinematography and Audiovisuals, Martín is specialized in scriptwriting at ESCAC (University of Barcelona). He has worked on the development of various documentaries, communication campaigns and television programs in Spain and the United States. In addition to his audiovisual career, he has published social and historical outreach essays, and has taught literature and cinema at ESCAC.

From September 7 to October 4, 2022

Sarasate promenade

Free entry with limited capacity. Book tickets at Information service of the “la Caixa” Foundation: 900 223040, To facilitate management, outside the exhibition space there is a digital totem where the operation can be carried out in a simple way.

Exhibition hours:

  • • From Monday to Friday, from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. and from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
  • • Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Guided visits:

  • • From Monday to Friday, at 7:00 p.m.
  • • Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: at 12 and 7 p.m.

*In Spanish, from Monday to Wednesday and Saturdays and Sundays at 12 noon/ In Basque, on Thursdays and Fridays and Saturdays and Sundays at 7:00 p.m.

School visits:

• From Monday to Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., by appointment by calling 900 80 11 37

The magic of George Méliès lands in Pamplona