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Women Fetching Water from the Nile (1897)

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Documentary | Short

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1897 (UK)  »

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Pot Heads.
19 November 2009 | by (www.2020-movie-reviews.com) – See all my reviews

Robert Paul is a largely forgotten name today, but he was a major pioneer of British cinema, and was quick to grasp the commercial potential of cinema in ways that better known pioneers such as William Friese-Greene were not. He was more of a mechanic than a filmmaker making, with Birt Acres, his own camera on which to shoot films in 1895, and also Britain's first projector, the Animatograph, with which to screen them in 1896. Early in the 20th century he had a custom-made studio built in Muswell Hill.

This short film was one of a series shot for Paul by Henry Short and while it gives us a good look at some of the local people, as the backdrop against which they are shot is a rugged stone wall we don't get to see much local colour – or even the Nile. The first individual we see isn't a woman at all but a white-bearded old gent stooped beneath the burden of his load. Next come the women, each of them balancing pots on their heads as they walk. It was no doubt fascinating for people who, until then, had never seen moving images of people from foreign lands but there's little of interest here.


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