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Employees Leaving the Lumière Factory (1895)

La Sortie de l'Usine Lumière à Lyon (le Premier Film) (original title)
A man opens the big gates to the Lumière factory. Through the gateway and a smaller doorway beside it, workers are streaming out, turning either left or right. Most of them are women in ... See full summary »

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Storyline

A man opens the big gates to the Lumière factory. Through the gateway and a smaller doorway beside it, workers are streaming out, turning either left or right. Most of them are women in long dresses and big hats, but some are men. Suddenly a man with a long apron rushes out through the crowd, followed by a big dog. At last some men on bikes leave the gateway. When all workers have left the factory, the doorkeeper starts closing the gates again. Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

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Documentary | Short

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22 March 1895 (France)  »

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Employees Leaving the Lumière Factory  »

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1.33 : 1
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It was the first film ever to be projected to a paying audience. See more »

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Featured in Le cinématographe Lumière (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

A Classic That Never Gets Old
8 March 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

For almost anyone with an interest in the earliest motion pictures, watching this footage of workers leaving the Lumière factory never gets old. Its historical significance, as the first movie that Louis Lumière showed at the first public demonstration of his cinematograph, would certainly make it well worth remembering for that reason alone. But beyond Lumière's visionary and technical abilities, he also had a knack for choosing material for his features that was interesting in itself.

This particular subject could not have been more appropriate for his first public presentation. The seemingly simple footage is almost a microcosm of the new world created by cinema. The widely varying reactions of the various workers (not to mention the occasional dog) contain almost every common reaction to the camera: some are curious and don't mind showing it, some are curious and pretend not to be, some are a little uncomfortable, some seem to be fascinated by having their picture taken. With the 'cast' as large as it is, you can watch the film a good number of times and still not lose interest.

Beyond that, the way that the camera field is set up shows an innate sense of the value of movement, particularly movement towards the camera, in holding the attention of the audience. Some of Lumière's best films made further use of this idea.

In one very short movie, this film preserves an important step in cinema history, while also containing material that, in a sense, portrays and foresees many of the future effects of the Lumière brothers' invention. That we can experience both, any time that we view this footage of these long-past men and women and their honest reactions to the camera, is still fascinating.


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