A stationary camera looks across the boulevard at a diagonal toward one corner of Lyon's Cordeliers' Square. It's a long shot, with a great deal of depth of focus. We can see the sky and ... See full summary »
A stationary camera looks across the boulevard at a diagonal toward one corner of Lyon's Cordeliers' Square. It's a long shot, with a great deal of depth of focus. We can see the sky and fronts of four buildings, each four or five stories tall. It's a busy thoroughfare, with pedestrians walking in front of the buildings and crossing the boulevard between horse-drawn vehicles. A double-decker bus passes in front of us, pulled by two horses. Various tradesmen pass on wagons. One van passes. Written by
I'd really like to say a lot of nice things about this typically well-composed Lumiere actuality with lots of movement to keep the viewer interested throughout its length, but once I've said that much, there isn't anything more to say. This sort of shot was a standard production of the era -- I'm tempted to write "commonplace" except that when you're doing something early and get it right, that would be cruelly wrong.
The reason I find this just ordinary good is that nothing particularly interesting happens. There's no one fighting a wintry storm like Broadway AND UNION SQUARE (1902), there's nothing exciting like DISTRIBUTING A WAR EXTRA (1899) and no one looks at the camera, engaging the modern audience reproachfully as they do in so many Mitchell & Kenyon movies. It's just a well composed view of a world that has vanished. How jaded I am!
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