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Tables Turned on the Gardener (1895)
"L'arroseur arrosé" (original title)

 -  Comedy | Short  -  1896 (Finland)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,122 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 4 critic

A gardener is watering his flowers, when a mischievous boy sneaks up behind his back, and puts a foot on the water hose. The gardener is surprised, and looks into the nozzle to find out why... See full summary »


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Title: Tables Turned on the Gardener (1895)

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Credited cast:
François Clerc ...
Benoît Duval ...


A gardener is watering his flowers, when a mischievous boy sneaks up behind his back, and puts a foot on the water hose. The gardener is surprised, and looks into the nozzle to find out why the water has stopped coming. The boy lifts his foot from the hose, whereby the water squirts up in the gardener's face. The gardener chases the boy, grips his ear, and slaps him in his buttocks. The boy runs away, and the gardener continues his watering. Written by Maths Jesperson {}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hose | boy | gardener | water | spanking | See more »


Comedy | Short




Release Date:

1896 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Tables Turned on the Gardener  »

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Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


First fully staged fictional film projected in public. See more »


Remade as The Bad Boy and the Gardener (1896) See more »

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User Reviews

The funny fellow below is closer to the truth than he'd like to let on.
5 September 2000 | by (dublin, ireland) – See all my reviews

The first fully staged fiction and comedy film is of a piece with the Lumieres previous work, full of energy contained. In 'Sortie d'Usine', a calm street scene was broken by exiting workers; in 'Repas de Bebe', a model family unit was decentred by a dribbling boy; in 'Demolition d'un mur', the hierarchical order of boss and workers is disrupted by a crashing wall. In this case a rural idyll, a man, a worker at one with nature, with his work, is interrupted by an idle interloper; work and purpose vs. play and sensation; documentary vs fiction, fantasy, escapism?

David Thomson claims that the film works because the audience is made complicit with the boy's antics. This is true, and the boy is subversive - he derails the work, the harmony between man and nature, man and work. He inflicts physical harm without being proximate to his victim, like a gangster shooting from a distance. He forces the man to abandon his fixed spot to apprehend him.

But he IS punished,and he is slapped for his deed, brought, as critics have noted, nearer the screen so the audience can see, as if the man is punishing us for enjoying the prank. Disruption will not be tolerated - the boy is cast out of the frame; harmony is restored.

All the while, as in 'Repas', nature looks on, indifferent immemorial, ignorant of the reactionary and the revolutionary alike. The Lumieres are very prescient in this film, understanding that they will be unable to hold onto the dutiful, purposeful hose for much longer; that the irresponsible pranksters are waiting to take over, to spray refreshing water over their audience's faces, an audience rather averse to the Lumieres' patronising ideals of moral elevation and 'science'.

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