Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mobilier Fidèle (The Automatic Moving Company)



Mobilier Fidèle (The Automatic Moving Company)
Directed by Emile Cohl, France, 1910, 4 minutes.

This film is about furniture that moves on its own, and therefore, makes moving into a new home quick and easy because everything knows where it needs to go--pictures go on the wall, mattresses go onto the already assembled bed frames and a broom and dust pan clean up broken dishes. There is arguably no story, but the furniture is given life with its ability to move and arrange itself. We can associate the film with a stage production--the actors and dancers know their places, props and scenes. We view a stage performance when the piano is getting up the stairs when boxes are coming down the stairs, and the boxes immediately go back up the stairs to allow the piano a place to move. I relate this scene to dancers bustling down stairs to get off stage but need to move in order for another actor to enter the next scene.

Emile Cohl is known as one of the first animators. When this film was released, it was a big deal because it used the new concept of stop-motion animation--moving inanimate objects slightly during each frame in order to give them the appearance of moving. This film is remarkable because moving the furniture up and down in place must have been heavy and taken a while. Also, as a new technique, the stop-motion is seamless. There are no unusual jerks in the movement of the furniture--the furniture does not start on the left side of the frame and then cut to the right side of the frame. Furthermore, this film can be argued as a test, not a short film, because it is lacking the narrator we often expect from short films. This film argues that story is not necessary and that testing a technique, in its own right, also creates a short. Or, because I can associate the film to real life, does that mean there is a story? It just may always be different depending on the viewer.

24 comments:

Rdana said...

The next time I move I'm hiring them, it was seamless. Incredible how large pieces of furniture move up and down the stairs, how did they do it I wonder, really amazing !

M. said...

I have to buy some of these furniture, when I'll be moving to CPH :D

Kate the Great said...

It really is amazing that it is so seamless, as you say, considering that it was a sort of test film for stop motion. You got it perfectly. It reminds me of Beauty and the Beast, and yes, I, too would hire them any day. :)

Alex said...

I can't figure out how they moved the plates. First, they had the plates fly into the display case, and then they had them stacked on a table. If it was done with string I feel like it would look more wobbily.
I liked the way the furniture would try out different parts of a room before settling in one place. That made the furniture more like a cat or dog, and less like an object being moved by magic.

Cori said...

It's interesting that the first use of stop motion is character-less--though I suppose one could consider the furniture simple characters. Stop motion is so often associated with cartoon-ish characters like Gumby and 'The Nightmare before Christmas.' Here the filmaker used the most accessible, mundane items to tell a story.

On a seperate note, what is happening in the beginning? What does the letter read? Is that someone writing to order the furniture?

Cori said...

I came across this recently made (part) stop action animation made out of household products: http://vimeo.com/22983423
Ode to Mobilier Fidèle?

haley schattner said...

I think, if we hadn't seen the hands of the people, it definitely would be a complete ode. thank you for sharing.

KTC said...

First, I was reminded of Marry Poppins and Bedknobs & Broomsticks (anyone?).

Second, I thought it interesting that you would say that "there is arguably no story," because you go on to basically describe or project some sort of story onto the narrative that is created by the objects in the house, "We view a stage performance when the piano is getting up the stairs when boxes are coming down the stairs, and the boxes immediately go back up the stairs to allow the piano a place to move." The objects in the house are most definitely the characters in this short and their features say a lot about their personality, their individual movement, and where they fit in the hierarchy. The interesting story here is, what is your furniture doing while you are away? The piano and the large hutch have a lot of presence in this piece, they create a lead by which the other pieces of furniture seem to follow. I saw this as a furniture social hour-- this IS exactly what they do when the owner leaves. Now, I just sound crazy. But, I do think one can argue that a story is being told here or at least create a story to tell by what it is we're seeing. We've done that several times throughout the term with some of the older, black and white, short pieces like, "The Kiss" and even the more experimental film with all of the models in it, their was definitely some inference of plot there.

Catherine said...

Really, IKEA should remake this and use it as a commercial. It's fantastic.

haley schattner said...

@Catherine:Yes, I think ikea would be very smart to create a commercial as an ode to this piece.
@KTC: It is very Bed Knobs and Broomsticks and I am sure Disney was influenced by this film and its use of stop-motion animation.

chicago movers said...

Nice and such a great post.. Feel great to know about moving companies... Thanks

Matthew said...

There are many moving companies that you can choose from. With trustworthy and reliable movers it is a guarantee that your belongings will be delivered safely.

Movers in New Jersey

Nury Bayona said...

Good web page! I will be adoring this!! Will be back again afterwards to learn even more. trying to find much more messages. yorkie for sale in miami

Gn Timilsina said...

If you keep submitting well written articles just like this then I will always keep returning back to your blog. Really good material. IT Company in California

Gabe Yesho said...

I would like to thank you for the endeavours you have got developed in creating this write-up. I am hoping the identical very best run from you inside the possible also. Really your innovative writing skills has motivated me to commence my private Weblog Motor weblog now. denver limousine

Shirish Bhakta said...

Remember to explain to me that you're heading to hold this up! Its so good and so crucial. I cant wait around to read far more from you. I just feel like you know so much and know how to make men and women listen to what you have to say. This site is just also amazing to be missed. Excellent things, genuinely. You should, Please hold it up! Cherokee Inn

luky begum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moving Companies Florida said...

Thanks so much for this article, this is just what I needed today!

Rajesh Kumar said...

Asoka Packers and Movers Hyderabad is the most consistently ranked packers and Movers Company and has delivered over 56,000 homes all over India
Packers and Movers Bangalore
Packers and Movers Pune

Alex said...

Oh it is such a cool movie! I wish our move went so smooth. Luckily, we hired good company www.goorangemoving.com that helped us a lot.

Manar Koutb said...


ولأننا افضل شركة نقل عفش بالرياض فاننا تستخدم احدث وافضل طرق نقل العفش عن طريق امهر الموظفين المدربين جيدا علي كافة اعمال تحميل وتنزيل العفش وكذلك حسن ترتيبة داخل السيارات لضمان وصولة سليم تماما بالاضافة الى افضل طرق تغليف الاثاث ويشمل ذلك ( تغليف نايلون – تغليف مفرقعات – تغليف كارتون ) وذلك لضمان وصول العفش بالكامل بدون اية خدوش او كسور في بة كل هذا بالاضافة الى افضل وامهر الفنيين المدربين جيدا ً علي كافة اعمال فك العفش بكافة انواعة وكذلك فك الستائر والمطابخ
شراء اثاث مستعمل
شركة نقل عفش بالرياض
نقل اثاث
اسعار تخزين اثاث بالرياض

khaled ali said...

Al Horus Home Services Company is the best company in the fields of cleaning and pest control and the transfer of furniture and cleaning of reservoirs and services necessary for the whole house, Al-Horus has the best workers in the world and the best materials and equipment in the world, so this is what distinguishes us from others
شركه نقل اثاث وعفش بالطائف
افضل شركه تنظيف بالطائف
شركه مكافحة حشرات بالطائف
شركه رش مبيدات بالطائف

Humaun Kabir said...

Hi nice post written by you. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site. Thanks a ton for such a nice post.

moving companies in Altamonte Springs

At Your Service Professional Movers said...

Very informative post. I really do hope and pray this stuff works.Thank you. Movers in Florida
Movers, Florida