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 »
The clarity and composition of the Lumiere films are amazing, given that they were made in 1895 and 1896. Both in terms of preservation and the ingenuity of the cameramen (see the shot of the rowers at sea and the tracking shot of the running children using a cart as a dolly are just two example), they are superior to the Edison films from the same time. (See Kino's multi-disc Edison set.) With that said, Bertrand Travernier's seemingly unscripted narration is a decided drawback. His stammering comments do little to put the films into historical context. The fact that he finds many of them amusing and hilarious is not insightful or interesting. Too bad the Lumiere Institution didn't put more care or scholarship into the narration. For an excellent film history project -- complete with historian interviews and extensive on-disc notes -- again, see Kino's multi-disc set of the early Edison films.
Nevertheless, the Lumiere films themselves are gems. Put on the mute button and enjoy. Some of the images are so crisp and life-like in motion that it's like time-travel to the 19th century.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this