Rene Tabard is a film teacher and a huge fan of Georges Méliès. When he was young, he met Georges Méliès and describes his meeting the following way:
“I grew up wanting to make dreams, too. Your husband gave me a great gift that day.” (2.7.23)
Tabard reminds Georges what movies are all about—dreams. And if you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true? It's lucky Tabard comes along, too, because he reconnects Georges to the past he's been hiding from for so long.
And it's not the bad past either (the one filled with war, business failure, and death). No, he reminds Georges of the magical past. The one in which he used his imagination to make awesome movies, clever automatons, and had all the fame a guy could ever want. Monsieur Tabard brings that back to life when he visits, and helps set in motion the forging of a new family, Hugo included.