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Barque sortant du port (1895)

| Documentary, Short
A rowboat with three men is leaving a little harbor. Two of them are rowing the boat, while the third is sitting in the stern. All of them wear hats. They are passing the outer end of a ... See full summary »

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A rowboat with three men is leaving a little harbor. Two of them are rowing the boat, while the third is sitting in the stern. All of them wear hats. They are passing the outer end of a pier, where two women in long, black gowns and aprons are standing together with two little girls. It's windy and the waves are quite high. When the boat passes the pier, a big wave appears, that almost throws the boat back into the harbor. Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

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Documentary | Short

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La sortie du port  »

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1.33 : 1
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Edited into Spisok korabley (2008) See more »

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The first art-film?
12 September 2000 | by (dublin, ireland) – See all my reviews

this is possibly the most beautiful of the early Lumiere shorts. A boat rows from the front of the screen away from the audience to the back, while to the right, women wait on the port. The camera, as usual, does not move, but the play of sunlight on the waves are gorgeous, and the rippling movement is so vibrant, especially within such a static frame, that it looks like one is watching an actual scene behind glass.

As with 'Demolition d'un mur', the real frisson of the film comes from the unexpected. The scene proceeds as expected, the boat moving steadily along. But, just as it turns, a stronger wave lunges, and almost capsizes the boat. Before we discover what will happen, the reel, and the film, ends. These early films made no precautions for the necessity of extra reels.

But the effect is quite shocking. The unexpected violence is unsettling enough, but with the film over, and loose ends nowhere near being tied up - indeed, just initiated a narrative, in the dying seconds - the audience is left agonising in the dark. What happened next? Inadvertently, the audience is required to imagine for itself, imagine what's not capable of being represented by the cinema, something the Hollywood generic system to come will stamp out. With its daring use of ellipsis, is this the first art-film, the first 'Cat People'?


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