6.9/10
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13 user 1 critic

Fantasmagorie (1908)

The first all-animated film in history, a series of scenes without much narrative structure, but morphing into each other.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ramszesz Varga ... Man
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Storyline

Much to our amazement, with the use of chalkboard hand-drawn animation, the caricaturist Émile Cohl conjures up the stick figure of an agile and pliable clown as he encounters a plethora of ever-shifting objects. Without a doubt, the transformations seem endless, in an attempt that is considered to be the very first animated cartoon. Written by Nick Riganas

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17 August 1908 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Fantasy  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To make this film, Cohl placed each drawing on an illuminated glass plate and then traced the next drawing-with variations-on top of it until he had some 700 drawings. In 1908, chalkboard caricaturists were common vaudeville attractions and the characters in the film look as though they've been drawn on a chalkboard, but it's an illusion. By filming black lines on paper and then printing in negative Cohl makes his animations appear to be chalk drawings. See more »

Connections

Edited into Los comienzos de la animación (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

The technology may have left it behind but it is bang up to date for creativity and energy
23 February 2013 | by See all my reviews

A few years ago I had a real passion for short films, seeking them out at festivals and on television, trying to see those considered as established and also those from first time or local artists. This fell off for some reason and I found myself watching more television which is not a problem but I did decide recently I should take the time to watch short films when I have the chance. Fantasmagorie was the one of the shorts I decided to watch, partly for the historical value but also for the good things I heard about it generally.

Watching it once was not enough though, because it is very short but also moves with real speed and energy. The animation consists of chalk drawings on a black background and without any narrative context they flow across the screen, seamlessly turning from one thing into another but making a sort of sense while doing so. Every second of it is creative and clever and engaging and, most importantly, a real joy to watch. The age of the film shows in the quality of the picture (or at least it did in the version I saw) but nowhere else. There is a real pleasure to it, a sense of wonder and excitement in the animation that has stayed with it for over a century.

A great little animation; it has historical value but you will only think of that afterwards because during your several viewings I suspect you'll be too busy keeping up and enjoying the passion and flow that the images have.


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