A stationary camera is set at a curve in the train tracks, with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background. From the bridge, a four-car streetcar approaches and turns to he viewer's left. As it ...
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British actress Naomie Harris has been nominated for an Oscar for her role as a crack-addicted mother in the 2016 indie drama Moonlight. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some other roles she's played in her career.
A stationary camera captures the hustle and bustle of Manhattan on Broadway at Union Square in Greenwich Village. As streetcars pass with rapid regularity, two police officers make sure ... See full summary »
A man opens the big gates to the Lumière factory. Through the gateway and a smaller doorway beside it, workers are streaming out, turning either left or right. Most of them are women in ... See full summary »
A gardener is watering his flowers, when a mischievous boy sneaks up behind his back, and puts a foot on the water hose. The gardener is surprised, and looks into the nozzle to find out why... 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 »
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 »
Wintertime in Lyon. 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 »
In commedia dell'arte style, an actor on a stool presents six distinct characters through speedy application of whiskers and a hat or, in one case, a wig followed by a few gestures. First ... See full summary »
In front of a flour mill, two men fight. One is the miller, and he's swinging a bag of flour in the scuffle. The other is a chimney sweep, and he's swinging what may be a bag of flour, but ... See full summary »
A photographer has his camera all set up to take a gentleman's picture. The subject checks his face in a hand mirror, and the photographer poses him. Just as the photographer is about to ... See full summary »
A stationary camera is set at a curve in the train tracks, with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background. From the bridge, a four-car streetcar approaches and turns to he viewer's left. As it passes, a train going toward the bridge passes on the tracks in front. It has four cars as well, with a few passengers aboard. A train engine that is moving backwards follows that train. A man atop a tall ladder works on a light pole. Written by
This approximately 45-second long Lumière Brothers short (Lumière No. 321) shows two trains from the old "New York and Brooklyn Bridge Railway", which eventually connected to the Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT) lines, predecessors of today's subway, passing over the Brooklyn Bridge.
Once again in a Lumière short, we have the visual composition of "obliques and processionals". An interesting angle was found that placed the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge on the left hand side of the frame but that also allowed the railway tracks to create an oblique from the lower left portion of the frame cutting all the way across to the right, then curving back towards the towers. This type of visual composition, which is found in a great number of Lumière actualities, both exaggerates perspective to emphasize depth and allows for more complex motion to be sustained for a greater length of time--the perfect way to exploit the novelty of this new artistic medium, the motion picture.
The processionals are created by the two trains, one in each direction. We first see a train coming from the center of the frame, making the curve and nearing us. Almost at the precise moment that the last car is about to exit the frame on our left, another train emerges from "behind" us, going the opposite direction, headed towards the curve and the distance. Just as the last car of this second train passes, and before its "backwards" facing engine comes along, a single, separate engine that had been parked in front of the control booth at the base of the bridge comes along in the direction of the first train.
This is beautifully complex motion, and it seems almost as if the trains would have had to be choreographed in this manner--to the extent that practice runs would have been necessary. The motions seem perfectly planned with respect to the camera. If it was a chance moment captured on the Lumière's cinématographe, it's hard to believe their good fortune.
Of course this short is also of great historical interest.
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