A group of people are standing in a straight line along the platform of a railway station, waiting for a train, which is seen coming at some distance. When the train stops at the platform, ... See full summary »
La cella di un condannato a morte. L'uomo sta dormendo e sogna il passato che lo ha portato in prigione : vita frenetica, cattive amicizie, alcolismo, l'assassinio di un cassiere di banca. ... See full summary »
An elderly gentleman in a silk hat sits on a stool in front of a store on the main street of town. He has a telescope that he focuses on the ankle of a young woman who is a short distance ... See full summary »
As the camera looks down an open road, a horse and carriage approaches, and passes by to one side of the field of view. Soon afterwards, an automobile comes up the road, straight towards ... See full summary »
Auguste Lumière directs four workers in the demolition of an old wall at the Lumière factory. One worker is pressing the wall inwards with a jackscrew, while another is pushing it with a ... See full summary »
Here is a most novel picture. A prominent actor with wonderful talent for facial contortion is standing some distance from the camera. As the film is set in motion, he walks toward the lens until his head grows into enormous proportions. He then stands so close to the camera that every wrinkle in his face, and in fact, the pores of his skin are plainly shown and greatly magnified. As he comes closer to the lens he opens his mouth wide, and is biting at the instrument all the while. He is then seen to swallow the camera, operator and all. He is next seen backing away from the instrument, smacking lips and rubbing his stomach in great glee. Very funny and a great hit. Written by
A delightful experiment in self-reflexivity from the days of early cinema, when enquiry about this new form was still encouraged before the standardisation of production and genre. A man finds he's being filmed; angered at this intrusion of his privacy, he approaches the camera and its operator, and eats them both!
The slow, looming mouth is a parody avant la lettre of horror films, an ordinary person turned into a monster, a giant by the cinema, in the same way ordinary people suddenly became huge when projected on a screen. Here we see that film doesn't just record things, it can enlarge, focus in close-up, distort, simply by magnifying a familiar feature. Maybe this is what the Indians meant in decrying soul-destroying photography; here, this ordinary man's soul becomes, punningly, negative.
Of course, the conceit isn't fully worked out - while it's lovely seeing the munching satisfaction of the avenging diner, especially as the shrunken cameraman was slurped up like so much spaghetti, it would be impossible for a camera in a man's belly to film the man from outside. There is always a second camera, filming silently on. This is the concerted power of cinema - you can do what you like, even eat its minions, but it'll still be there, like a Gothic doppelganger, immovable, watching your every move.
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