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The Messers. Lumière at Cards (1896)
"Partie d'écarté" (original title)

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Two men play cards, as a third watches and a waiter brings drinks. The third man pours drinks as the waiter laughs.


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Title: The Messers. Lumière at Cards (1896)

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Credited cast:
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Two men are playing a friendly game of cards, while a third man sits at the same table and watches them. As the game proceeds, a waiter brings a tray with a bottle and some glasses. The spectator pours the drinks, while the waiter turns his attention to the game, which he finds quite entertaining. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Short




Release Date:

23 February 1896 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Messers. Lumière at Cards  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Lumière Catalogue no. 73. See more »


Edited into Landmarks of Early Film (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Family movies: A window to different era...

On December 28, 1985, the Lumière brothers showed a new invention to the world, able to project motion pictures in a screen, in the same way as slide-show photographs were done. Lumière's movies showed the common events of real life as they were captured by their camera and brought to life by the Cinématographe; the thirty-three people who saw their movies for the first time watched in awe as people walked through streets or played cards as if the photograph projected on the screen was alive. It is often said that photographs are captured memories of the past, that allow us to revisit moments long gone and to witness events from a distant time and place. Well, if cinema is basically moving photographs, the same thing can be said about it, as when Louis and August Lumière decided to experiment with moving pictures, their principal motivation was to capture real life as they knew it. And they more than succeeded in their attempt.

On that first screening, the brothers showed 10 movies, but many more moves were done for future screenings. "Partie De Cartes" (literally, "Card Game") was one of those made to follow that initial success. What made "Partie De Cartes" different to most of the Lumière's actuality films, is that in this movie, the focus is not in showing movement, but on the capture on film of the characters and their actions. While many of the early films by the pioneers were done focusing on moving elements (trains, traffic, etc), this movie was about capturing a relaxed family scene, like a vignette or a modern family vacation film. "Partie De Cartes" is about a game of cards played between Antoine Lumière (the brothers' father), Félicien Trewey and Alphonse Winckler, while a waiter (Antoine Féraud) brings them drinks and comments on their game. While it has not really a plot, it is a charming scene that reflects the filmmakers' life and times.

Like "Repas De Bébé" ("Baby's Meal"), "Card Game" is a movie that contrasts sharply with the Lumière's style of film-making, but at the same time it complements it. Considering that both were photographers besides being inventors, it seems natural that this kind of vignettes were among the first movies done by the duo, as they perfectly understood the potential of cinema as an innovative form to capture memories with a higher realism than photographs. On a strictly technical level, "Partie De Cartes" is one of the best looking movies among their early films, and one could say that while no artists, the brothers had a pretty good idea of what would later be called "Mise-en-scène" (the overall visual composition), as they really set the camera in the best place to capture the action. While lacking the strong initial impact of their first movie ("La Sortie Des Usines Lumière") or the creativity of "L' Arroseur Arrosé", this Lumière movie is really interesting as one of the very first family movies ever made. 6/10

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