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‘Hugo’ is me, Scorsese says of new film

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Martin Scorsese leaves the tough guy world far behind with his latest film “Hugo”, a 3D fantasy set in pre-war Paris about an orphan and a toymaker — as well as about himself, the US director said Monday.

“Hugo”, which hit US screens last month, is at once a warming Christmas carol and a cinephile’s tribute to one of the art form’s founding fathers, the Frenchman Georges Melies, a real-life magician turned experimental filmmaker.

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“As I was making the film, more and more people kept telling me: ‘That’s you’,” Scorsese told a press conference in Paris. “And ultimately by the time we had finished editing, there was no doubt.

“‘C’est moi'” (It’s me), he quipped in French, picking up on the line by the 19th-century writer Gustave Flaubert who famously proclaimed the same of his seminal work Emma Bovary.

Set in an imaginary Paris circa 1930, the film tells the story of 12-year-old Hugo Cabret, played by Asa Butterfield, who lives hidden in the walls of a Paris railway station, tasked with keeping its giant clocks wound and ticking.

Hugo crosses paths with an old toymaker played by Ben Kingsley, who turns out to be none other than Melies, now fallen on hard times. As it turns out, Hugo is trying to repair a toy robot left to him by his dead father.

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Scorsese adapted the movie from a best-selling illustrated novel by US author Brian Selznick, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” — which in turn was inspired by a study of Melies’ collection of lost automata.

Melies’ intricate automata become a parable for the dream-machinery at the heart of filmmaking.

Scorsese’s first 3D movie leads the viewer into the imaginary world of the soft-spoken Melies, whose experimental films like the 1902 science-fiction adventure “A Trip to the Moon” have a magical, home-made quality.

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Hobbled by acute asthma as a child, Scorsese said he felt a strong initial resonance with its lonely boy hero.

“The boy’s isolation, and the fact that it resolves itself through Melies and the invention of cinema — this for me was a direct connection, with a fantasy of my own childhood in a way,” he said.

Though a handful of scenes were filmed in Paris, most of “Hugo” was shot at Shepperton Studios outside London, in a make-believe station based on Paris’ Gare de Lyon, Gare du Nord and the old Montparnasse station.

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“We would have loved to be here the whole time,” Scorsese said, “but the film had to have another kind of Paris — a heightened Paris.”

Scorsese’s sepia-toned French capital is, by his own admission, an American’s impression of the city, made larger-than-life by gorgeous 3D imagery that magnifies the slightest snowflake, the hissing steam from the trains and the hot oil poured into the clocks’ innards.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘There’s nothing I’m giving up’: Sean Spicer works for pro-Trump PAC and will not curtail his duties while on DWTS

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Former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer will be a “star” on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars this season – much to the chagrin of many who expressed outrage this week – but what the announcement on “Good Morning America” didn’t mention is Spicer isn’t giving up his day job – not for a minute.

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the second former Trump White House press secretary to land a new gig in two days. Huckabee Sanders, who left the White House after saying she just woke up one day and decided that would be the day to quit, will join Fox News as a political contributor.

CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was first to break the news:

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Wildfires in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil have ignited a firestorm on social media, with President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday suggesting green groups had started the blazes.

Images of fires purportedly devouring sections of the world's largest rainforest have gone viral on Twitter. #PrayforAmazonas is the top trending hashtag in the world Wednesday, with 249,000 tweets.

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