A rare gem of cinematic storytelling that weaves docudrama, fictional reenactment, and experimental photography into a powerful, reflective work on the early days of German cinema. The film... See full summary »
A man wanders out of the desert after a four year absence. His brother finds him, and together they return to L.A. to reunite the man with his young son. Soon after, he and the boy set out ... See full summary »
Harry Dean Stanton,
40 international directors were asked to make a short film using the original Cinematographe invented by the Lumière Brothers, working under conditions similar to those of 1895. There were ... See full summary »
During the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, Wenders asks a number of film directors from around the world to get, each one at a time, into a hotel room, turn on the camera and sound recorder, and... See full summary »
A rare gem of cinematic storytelling that weaves docudrama, fictional reenactment, and experimental photography into a powerful, reflective work on the early days of German cinema. The film tells the story of the Skladanowsky Brothers, the German-born duo responsible for inventing the "bioskop", an early version of the film projector. Written by
When Wim Wenders accepted to teach cinema at the Hochschule für Fernesehen und Film where he himself had been a student from 1967 to 1969, he decided to make a film with his students paying homage to the pioneers of the moving pictures, invented a hundred years before. The film made on a very tight budget became "Die Gebrüder Skldanowsky". See more »
This biopic of the Skladanowsky brothers, who were some of the first to invent cinema, began as a project for Wim Wenders's students and evolved into a feature-length film released during the centennial of the cinema's invention. Also for 1995, Wenders was one of the filmmakers who paid homage to the Lumière brothers by making their own 50-or-so-seconds long films for "Lumière et compagnie". The Skladanowsky brothers' Bioskop film projector premièred on 1 November 1895--nearly two months before the Lumière brothers' first program. It should also be noted, however, (and it's not in this film) that a few other inventors have earlier claims than do even the Skladanowsky brothers. To count projected drawn animation or the projection of films to non-paying audiences would add a few more names. Regardless, they were among the firsts, and this film, "A Trick of Light", is a fun little tribute to their invention.
Wenders interweaves various forms of narration and film technique to tell the story. First, there are fictional scenes (and not entirely historically accurate) of the brothers and one of their daughters working on the Bioskop and their films, which they eventually show to a paying audience. This part is photographed with a silent era hand-cranked camera and two characters provide voice-over narration at different times. Second, there is a documentary interview with 95-year-old Lucie Skladanowsky, daughter of the late Max Skladanowsky. Fictional elements are further interweaved with the interview, including via trick photography. The little girl from the previous fictional episode, for example, enters the interview undetected, as does the spy who was trying to steal the Skladanowsky's invention. All of this makes for an uneven picture. That Wenders and his students made the film over three or so years probably didn't help the film's consistency, either.
Nevertheless, it's an entertaining and sometimes interesting (although not too enlightening due to taking liberties with historical facts and the mixing of fiction with nonfiction) look at one largely forgotten group of cinema's inventors and their system of projection. Reenactments of the films are even shown. Yet, one wonders if they had shown what's left of the Skladanowsky brothers original films, or if Wenders hadn't taken as many liberties with history overall, or if the interview were not interrupted by fiction, "A Trick of Light" may have been better. Still, not many have given this part of film history any attention, so this was a unique project and worth watching.
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