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Bataille de neige (1897)

6.8
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Wintertime in Lyons. About a dozen people, men and women, are having a snowball fight in the middle of a tree-lined street. The cyclist coming along the road becomes the target of ... See full summary »

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Title: Bataille de neige (1897)

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Storyline

Wintertime in Lyons. About a dozen people, men and women, are having a snowball fight in the middle of a tree-lined street. The cyclist coming along the road becomes the target of opportunity. He falls off his bicycle. He's not hurt, but he rides back the way he came, as the fight continues. Uh-oh. He forgot his cap in the snow. Written by David Carless

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Plot Keywords:

cyclist | snowball fight | winter | See All (3) »

Genres:

Short | Documentary

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Release Date:

7 February 1897 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Snowball Fight  »

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Lumière Catalog No. 101. See more »

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

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User Reviews

 
Echoes of Bakhtin, Melville and Fellini before they were even born.
14 September 2000 | by (dublin, ireland) – See all my reviews

This is a wonderful short depicting a snowfight on the streets of a French town. Two of the great masterpieces of European cinema - 'Les Enfants Terribles' and 'Amarcord' - have crucial scenes involving snowfights: this is the source of such a resonant set-up. This is arguably the first film to actually utilise the properties of monochrome, the brilliant white contrasting with the black chaos it contains.

Although the film seems to embody a kind of anarchy, where all distinctions - class, age, gender etc. - dissolve in an egalitarian melee. 'Bataille', as with so many of the Lumieres' films is essentially conservative. Overlooking this alarmingly fluid mass are the fixed realities of place, home, property, and the bare trees, suggesting the inexorable order of nature and society.

The snowfight, therefore, is not an overthrowing of the old repressive social order, but an example of what Bakhtin called the 'carnivalesque', one of those occasions set aside by societies (eg festivals, parades etc.) where the norm is overthown, where the peasant becomes king and vice versa; where there is a break from the norm, a playing at difference of status, before returning to the old routine and social relations. This is visualised in the fixed gaze of the camera, which keeps whole all the fragmentation it observes. Beautiful.


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