Monday, September 22, 2008

L'Arrivée d'un Train a la Ciotat (The Arrival of a train a la Ciotat)

Directed by Auguste and Louis Lumière

Watch this film. Now tell me with an honest face that was not the most pointless film you ever saw. That's right, it is a pointless film for those of us that lived in the 21st century. Now imagine yourself in a theater in France, December 28th, 1895. And all of a sudden a huge train come flying towards you. You'd run in terror right? Well that's what happened when this film first debuted in a cafe in Paris.
This is considered to be one of the first films ever made and shown to an audience. They showcased it along with 9 of their other films. All of these films were stationary cameras setup in a certain spot capturing simple, everyday things. But for their time they were revolutionary. One can watch these films and be baffled on how anyone enjoyed it. A contemporary comparison can be made, people go all the time to I-MAX and 3-d films and they can watch something a simple as fish swimming around and they are amazed. It's all about the technological advancements of that time. Eventually the French moved on to bigger and better things like narrative films and actually plot lines. Unlike Edison who remained in marvel with the spectacle of film.


Paul Klein said...

This is actually one of my favorite Lumiere films. I don't think pointless is the right word to describe it, because you display, even though you were bored by the film, that it mattered - it had and has a point. The point then was the technological spectacle - the point now is the historical and cultural significance of the film.

So, pointless, absolutely not. This is an important piece of cinema. You may find it arbitrarily shot, but it was filmed with intention and purpose, and it has an always will mean something.

I'm a huge fan of the Lumiere travelogue films. The fascination early filmgoers had with motion becomes increasingly present, as the stationary Cinematograph begins to get placed on trains and automobiles and boats, creating beautiful tracking shots, establishing a cinematic language that is used a century later. Absolutely gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

The film is not pointless...yes, but put into a context of what we are accustomed to today, it is. This is definitely a groundbreaking film though.

Joe Bocchini said...

This Lumiere guy seems like he was pretty innovate seeing as how he invented film. During the 19th century I would probably be screaming in fear if I saw moving pictures, but otherwise this definitely bores the hell out of me. Sorry Paul Klien.

Phil said...

Yet again from the little I know about films I have to agree that this is pretty boring, but do you think the first books were interesting? Didn't think so