Last Updated on 2023/09/20
“A Marriage in the Moon” – Italy’s Early Foray into Sci-Fi Cinema.
Table of Contents
In 1910, Italian cinema offered its audience a whimsical vision of interstellar love and adventure. “A Marriage in the Moon,” (Un matrimonio interplanetario) both penned and directed by Enrico Novelli—better known in literary circles as Yambo—was perhaps Italy’s first foray into the realm of cinematic science fiction. However, rather than presenting a dire future or dystopian universe, Novelli chose the path of light-hearted comedy, imbuing the genre with his unique optimism and charm.
In the depths of space, Aldovino’s gaze pierces the vast expanse, and through his telescope, he catches a glimpse of the entrancing Yala on the planet Mars. Enchanted by her beauty, Aldovino, driven by love and daring, sends a message to Yala’s father, Fur, a Martian astronomer. His wish? Yala’s hand in marriage. Fur throws down a celestial challenge: If Aldovino can fly to the moon and meet him there in exactly a year, he would give his consent.
For many, such a task might seem daunting, if not downright impossible. But love knows no bounds. Aldovino crafts a spacecraft, and with the aid of a mortar, shoots through the cosmos, arriving at the moon just in the nick of time.
While Georges Méliès’s “A Trip to the Moon” (1902) is often lauded as a pioneering example of early science fiction, Novelli’s “A Marriage in the Moon” stands as a delightful peer, showcasing a fusion of animation, theatre, and on-location shoots. The imaginative landscapes—from the surreal vistas of Mars reminiscent of the alien terrains in 1973’s ‘Fantastic Planet’ to the moon’s playful scenes with jubilant moon-maids—display a kaleidoscope of creativity.
A standout moment features Aldovino communicating his affection via radio, visualized as an ethereal stream of letters dancing across the sky. The film’s actors, especially Aldovino, amplify their emotions through exaggerated expressions, a hallmark of the silent era, but in this instance, the fervor borders on the theatrical.
The film does have its challenges; some versions available online rush through English title cards, making them hard to catch. Yet, even without the need for narration, the vivid expressions and actions of the cast paint a clear, compelling narrative.
The visual splendor of “A Marriage in the Moon” owes much to Novelli’s earlier work. In 1908, he penned “The Moon Colony” (La Colonia Lunare). When it came time to bring “A Marriage in the Moon” to life, he drew inspiration from his illustrations from this work. Novelli’s vision of Mars is a reflection of an ultra-modern society, mirroring Earth yet surpassing it in technological prowess.
Interestingly, the film does not name its characters outright. However, careful examination of Aldovino’s and Fur’s radiotelegraphs by scholars like Caneppele and others unveils deeper insights into the narrative. Aldovino’s message, which proclaims his love for the “Mars Daughter” and his wish to marry her, is an overt declaration of his feelings. Meanwhile, Fur’s response sets the stage, inviting Aldovino to prove his commitment by journeying to the moon for the celestial union.
Topics: A Marriage in the Moon 1910, Enrico Novelli’s early science fiction, Italian silent films in science fiction, pioneering sci-fi films from Italy, celestial love tales in cinema, Novelli’s interstellar romance film, silent film era’s interstellar narratives, early 20th-century cosmic cinema
Featured image source: wikimedia
Weird Italy, Guide to Unusual & Amazing Places to see in Italy. Italy’s news in English: Art, History & Facts