The Invention of Hugo Cabret Part 2, Chapter 4 Summary
The Invention of Dreams
It's time for a ride on le Metro, Paris's subway.
Hugo walks down the stairs of a vast station, looking over his shoulder.
There he stands, alone on one side of the subway platform, looking into the distance and down the tracks.
He boards the subway car. It’s very clean and has fancy doors. Hmm. Maybe that's a French thing.
Hugo takes a seat by the window and holds his injured hand as he looks at the blurry landscape whooshing by.
We then see Hugo getting off the subway train, looking determined.
He walks up the stairs and onto the street, which is lined with tall buildings. The street is cobbled and there a ton of people milling about.
We see Hugo walking down a clean, neat street lined with naked trees. Old timey cars are driving past.
He arrives in front of a big, elegant building with sculptures on the front. It says, “Academie Du Cinema Francais."
In the lobby, Hugo asks a woman to use the library, but she's all, you're small and dirty and need adult supervision. Ugh.
Then he hears his name being called. Who could it be?
We see the face of a young man with neatly parted hair and an eye patch. Hey…
… it's Etienne!
Dude's got connections. He tells Hugo that he'll take him up to the library.
On their way upstairs, a large painting catches Hugo's eye.
The painting is of a man suspended in the night sky, about to throw a fireball and extending a hand that emanates light.
Etienne helps Hugo figure out the card catalog system (the way that folks sorted library books before computers), and Hugo opens a book called The Invention of Dreams: The Story of the First Movies Ever Made.
The book talks about a movie called A Train Arrives in the Station that scared people because they actually thought a train was going to run them over when they saw on the screen.
This one's a blurry black and white photo of a train rolling into the station. It doesn’t look that scary to us.
Hugo goes through the book, flipping through the pages until he finds what he was looking for.
It’s the image of the man on the moon! It looks exactly like the sketch that the automaton drew, except it’s not a sketch—it’s a real photograph. Or rather it's a still image from a movie.
The movie that the picture is from is called A Trip to the Moon and was made by a filmmaker named Georges Méliès, who used to be a magician… hmm, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
We see a black and white picture of a woman sitting in the middle of a stage, and a man with a trim beard in a suit waving from off to the side.
In the next image, the woman is gone but the man in the suit is still standing there, his hand up as though he’s just waved, voila!
The book talks about how Georges Méliès was a great filmmaker, and how he died sometime after the Great War.
Say what? Hugo knows that Georges Méliès is still very much alive.
When he tells Etienne, Etienne just laughs. But Hugo swears—Georges Méliès is Isabelle's godfather.