One of our site members has written a brilliant review of Hugo...
When I saw Hugo advertised I thought it was right up my street, it was a fantasy, it was shot in a French train station between the first and second world wars and it was all about early film, back in the day when the only sound in the cinema was the gasps of wonder coming from the audience.
The film is very artistically shot, with quite unrealistic sets and exaggerated features in the characters, which makes sense, given that the film is telling the story of an early filmmaker who captured the imagination of early film audiences.
At the heart of it, the film is about personal dreams, ambition, and vocation. Hugo is a young orphan who lives in the walls of Gare du Nord station in Paris. Hugo has a talent, he is able to fix things, when he is not maintaining the clocks in the train station he is helping Georges Méliès who runs the toy shop in the train station, or trying to fix the otomiter, a kind of robot that has been left to him by his father.
Hugo, realising that there is some connection between Georges and the otomiter sets about finding out more about him, and in doing so helps Georges to realise his true purpose in life, something he had lost.
Hugo, in conversation with his friend Isabelle says 'I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn't be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.'
Later in the film, losing hope in being able to help Georges he says 'Maybe that's why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do... Maybe it's the same with people. If you lose your purpose... it's like you're broken.'
So, how can you use the film with young people? There is a lot of mileage in creating a retreat around it, using snippets for a liturgy, but as I am a bit of a purist in these matters I would just show it to them and discuss!!!!
Written by Pia Cronin MA (Film and TV and Theology)
Lay Chaplain - St Leonards-Mayfield School