Partie de cartes (1897) Poster

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For 1897, it's pretty amazing stuff...
MartinHafer9 July 2011
This film was included in the three DVD set "Saved From the Flames"--a collection of mostly ephemeral movies that have managed to avoid turning to powder, catching fire or melting--something that usually happened with the nitrate film stock used up through the 1950s.

This is a film only history teachers and cinemaniacs could love. After all, films of this era are terribly boring to most folks today, as the films are usually about 30 seconds long and just show people doing everyday things--such as eating, watering the lawn and the like. Yet, despite this, audiences of the day were enthralled--they'd never seen anything like it before and they couldn't get enough.

"Partie de Cartes" is exactly what it means--a card party. Some folks are sitting around a table playing cards as a lady observes. Sadly, that's all there is to it. So why did I give it a 7? Have I lost my mind? Perhaps, but I gave it such a high score because it was hand-colored. While not super uncommon in the day, this meant that huge factories of women with paint brushes were literally applying paint to each cel! Think of the time that went into this. The average film, though only about 30 seconds, was shown at about 20 frames per second (depending on how fast the camera guy cranked the handle)--and that means about 600 frames were thus colored---and this had to be done to EVERY print they released! Wow--no wonder the practice was soon abandoned!
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Italy's response to Méliès
Warning: Spoilers
While Mélies was publishing film after film in France, the Italians weren't totally lazy either. Of course, Leopoldo Fregoli's body of work is nothing compared to Méliès, but it's pretty nice to see early silent work from other parts of Europe and the world as well.

Here we see three men playing cards and obviously having a great time. I love how positive this film is. Everybody seems to be having a blast from such a simple leisure time activity. That includes the man watching on the right, the lady getting drinks and the other lady in the background. They all seem to be chatting joyfully. Another interesting note is that you see are the magnificent hats most of them are wearing and you can easily see that beards were a huge fashion trend back then and just a virile thing to have, while these days beards are actually not common at all anymore, sometimes even considered a turn-off. Gender assimilation progresses.
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Partie de cartes (1897)
Michael_Elliott23 December 2016
Partie de cartes (1897)

This French film clocks in at just under a minute but it's certainly worth watching if you're a fan of these early actuality movies, although there seems to have been a little bit of scripting here. Basically three men are sitting around a table playing cards when they order over a waiter. That's pretty much all that happens here but there's something rather charming about watching them play. I"m honestly not too sure what it is but there's certainly some entertainment to be had from this film thanks in large part to the men's mannerisms as well as the way they deal with the waiter.
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