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The Photographical Congress Arrives in Lyon (1895)
"Neuville-sur-Saône: Débarquement du congrès des photographes à Lyon" (original title)

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Another milestone in film history - this may well have been the very first film to have been developed and shown to its subjects (the members of the Congress of Photographic Societies) on ... See full summary »

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Title: The Photographical Congress Arrives in Lyon (1895)

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Another milestone in film history - this may well have been the very first film to have been developed and shown to its subjects (the members of the Congress of Photographic Societies) on the same day that they were filmed Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

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pier | convention

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Documentary | Short

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Not Rated
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12 June 1895 (France)  »

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The Photographical Congress Arrives in Lyon  »

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1.33 : 1
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Edited into The Lumière Brothers' First Films (1996) See more »

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Lumière's first true documentary...

To many historians, December 28, 1895, is the date considered as the day where cinema was born, as it was in that cold day of winter when the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière gave the first public screening of their new invention, the Cinématographe. The brothers' devise would change history of entertainment forever, as it took the idea of motion pictures from the uncomfortable and individual experience of Edison's Kinetoscope, to the more enjoyable atmosphere of a movie projected on a screen. On that day the brothers showed 10 films, and the majority of them were of the kind that later would be known as "actuality films", movies showing an everyday event. However, one of the 10 films was a bit more than a typical "actuality film", as it was actually the register of an event in a fashion more akin to what we know now as documentary films: it was the arrival of the Photographical Congress to Lyon.

While December 28, 1895, was certainly the very first time the brothers showed their invention to the world, it wasn't really the first time the brothers' invention was shown to an audience, as months earlier, the brothers had been doing private screenings for the scientific community of France. The 1895 Photographical Congress that was celebrated at the community of Neuville-sur-Saône in Lyon, was one of the places where the Lumières screened their films for the first time. "Neuville-sur-Saône: Débarquement du congrès des photographes à Lyon", is essentially the recording of the arrival of the members of the Photographical Congress to Neuville-sur-Saône, marking the first time a camera was used to capture something more "special" than people moving or trains arriving. This time the new medium was being used to actually register the event in real time, pretty much in the same way as TV News work today.

Nevertheless, that was not the only thing that "Neuville-sur-Saône" an interesting early short film. The movie was shot when the Congress arrived, early in the morning, and that very same day was shown to its protagonists in the afternoon. One has to wonder how the photographers felt when they saw the images of their arrival actually moving, as if the even was being enacted again. The very same people that looked into the camera (perhaps thinking it was a normal photography) was now watching themselves in a motion picture depicting short seconds of their lives. It was certainly a unique experience, and no doubt the success of "Neuville-sur-Saône: Débarquement du congrès des photographes à Lyon" and their other films that day prompted the brothers to keep working in their preparation for that December day, when the world witnessed what a group of photographers did (and saw) months ago. 7/10


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