A satire on the way that audiences unaccustomed to the cinema didn't know how to react to the moving images on a screen - in this film, an unsophisticated (and stereotypical) country yokel ...
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 »
A stationary camera looks on as two dapper gents play a game of chess. One drinks and smokes, and when he looks away, his opponent moves two pieces. A fight ensues, first with the squirting... See full summary »
Firefighters ring for help, and here comes the ladder cart; they hitch a horse to it. A second horse-drawn truck joins the first, and they head down the street to a house fire. Inside a man... See full summary »
Members of the French Photographic Society arrive from a riverboat to their congress venue in Neuville-sur-Saône on a summer day. They go ashore across a wooden landing stage. Among the ... See full summary »
A man and a woman talk beside a street near a corner where a cop stands. Just as a horse-drawn cart rounds the corner, the man backs off the sidewalk saying good-by to his companion. The ... 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 satire on the way that audiences unaccustomed to the cinema didn't know how to react to the moving images on a screen - in this film, an unsophisticated (and stereotypical) country yokel is alternately baffled and terrified, in the latter case by the apparent approach of a steam trainWritten by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
An Amusing & Even Thought-Provoking Little Feature
This early classic is done rather cleverly, is amusing, and is even a little thought-provoking. The rudimentary special camera effects really work just fine, and the scenario is so economical and straightforward that it belies the substance that underlies what you see. The story starts with an outgoing, but rather dull-witted, person watching movies and reacting to them in various ways. It's very simple, but done skillfully enough, and it's interesting in at least a couple of other ways.
The concept of using other films and film itself as points of reference has clearly been around almost as long as cinema itself. Some early films handled such material in a fashion that is both amusing and efficient. Unfortunately, film-makers of the present too often over-indulge in the use of self-referential devices, and in an overabundance of references to other films, popular songs, and the like, far beyond the point where any of this serves a constructive purpose.
Then too, since cinema began, the basic idea of confusing film with reality has changed only in terms of the specific applications. It's easy enough to laugh at the "Countryman", as we were meant to do in this feature, but viewers of movies and television in any era often find difficulty in separating film from reality: in forming opinions, in their priorities, and in their attitudes towards life. Just as the "Countryman" doesn't quite understand the nature of what he is seeing, so too, many films can dazzle the senses of today's audiences, and persuade uncritical viewers to think that the films have more substance than they really do. So there's more to this feature than merely a clever little film about the ways that early movies affected their viewers over a century ago.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this