|La famiglia Lumière a tavola. Autochrome Lumière, 1910. Photo: Institut Lumière / Famille Lumière. Please click to enlarge.|
1896. Cinema anno uno – Lumière!
1896. Year One of Cinematography
Programma 1: La bellezza dei film Lumière
Programme 1: The Beauty of Lumière Films
Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna
Introduced by Gian Luca Farinelli, Mariann Lewinsky, and Thierry Frémaux
Bonimenteur: Thierry Frémaux (Institut Lumière) – commentary, no music
There are no intertitles in the films.
(DCP announced). Screened in ProRes. From: Institut Lumière, Lyon
Cinema Lumiere – Sala Officinema/Mastroianni, 25 June 2016
Thierry Frémaux (Bologna catalog): "A Lumière film is composed of a strip of celluloid 17 meters long and 35 mm wide lasting about fifty seconds. At the time, they were defined as ‘cinematographic views’. The 35 mm format was chosen because it was the same as that used by the American Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope. There was only one difference: four rectangular perforations per frame in Edison’s, but only a round one in the Lumière’s. In this way it is still possible today to recognise a film shot with an original Cinématographe."
"If 80% of silent cinema has disappeared and much of George Méliès’ oeuvre has been lost, Louis Lumière kept his output intact in Lyon, in the cellar of his family’s castle. In 1946 he deposited it in the Cinémathèque française. In the Sixties and Seventies a collector in Lyon, Paul Génard, in turn compiled a good number of films. In 1982-1983, the creation of the Institut Lumière allowed Bernard Chardère to assemble the Lumière’s cinematic output almost in its entirety. In 1991, under the urging of Maurice Trarieux-Lumière, Louis’ grandson and the first president of the fledgling Association des Frères Lumière, the CNC – Archives françaises du film at Bois D’Arcy undertook a first attempt at cataloguing their work. A second attempt has been underway since 2014 and the curator, Béatrice de Pastre, has indicated that the Societé Lumière was directly responsible for producing 1,422 films."
"In 2009, on the occasion of the first edition of the Lumière festival, the Lumière Institute, in collaboration with the CNC and the Cineteca di Bologna, undertook a digital restoration in 2K. In 2013, it was decided that, for the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the Cinématographe’s creation in 2015, about 150 Lumière films would be restored in 4K from negative and positive elements belonging to the collections of the Cinémathèque française, the Institut Lumière and the CNC, conserved at Bois d’Arcy."
"The restoration was conducted in October 2014 by the Éclair Group in Paris and carried out by the Institut Lumière in collaboration with the CNC and the Cinémathèque française, together with the Cineteca di Bologna and its laboratory, L’Immagine Ritrovata. This restoration led to the printing of a new negative, 35 mm copies and a DCP, allowing the films to be projected on screens around the world." - Thierry Frémaux
Divertimento e lavoro 1896
Leisure and Work 1896
Départ de cyclistes / [The Start of the Cyclists]
n. 33, Louis Lumière, Lyon, FR 1896
Enfants pêchant des crevettes / [Children Fishing for Shrimp]
n. 45, Alexandre Promio, GB 1896
Partie de tric trac / [A Game of Backgammon]
n. 74, Louis Lumière, La Ciotat, FR 1896
Danse au bivouac / [A Dance at the Camp]
n. 266, Alexandre Promio, Madrid, ES 1896
Laveuses sur la rivière / [Washerwomen by the River]
n. 626, FR 1896
Transport d’une tourelle par un attelage de 60 chevaux / [Transport of a Turret by a Team of 60 Horses]
n. 770, FR 1896
Pêche aux sardines / [Fishing Sardines]
n. 70, Louis Lumière, FR 1896
Les pompiers, I: passage des pompes / [The Firemen, I: The Passage of the Pumps]
n. 778, Paris, FR 1896
Attelage d’un camion / [Tow Truck]
n. 627, FR 1896
Écriture à l’envers / [Writing in Reverse]
n. 42, Louis Lumière, La Ciotat, FR 1896
Da Lione alla scoperta del mondo e della felicità
From Lyon to Discovering the World and Happiness
Premiers pas de bébé / [The Baby's First Steps]
fuori catalogo [operatore, luogo e anno non identificati]
|Place Bellecour. Catalogue Lumière. Vue N° 129. Circulation des piétons et de divers véhicules sur la place. Opérateur: Louis Lumière. Date: [printemps 1896] - 14 juin 1896. Lieu: France, Lyon, place Bellecour.|
n. 129, Louis Lumière, Lyon, FR 1896
Scaphandrier / [The Diver]
n. 92, FR 1896
Entrée du Cinématographe / [The Arrival of the Cinématographe]
n. 250, Charles Moisson, London, GB 1896
Rentrée à l’étable / [Return to the Barn]
n. 313, Alexandre Promio, Genève, CH 1896
Déchargement d’un navire / [Unloading a Ship]
n. 34, Alexandre Promio, Barcelona, ES 1896
Descente des voyageurs du pont de Brooklyn / [Passengers Descending from Brooklyn Bridge]
n. 324, Alexandre Promio, New York, US 1896
Panoptikum – Friedrichstrasse
n. 219, Berlin, DE 1896
n. 307, Charles Moisson, Moscow, RU 1896. - "On nous regarde" (T. F.).
Bataille de neige / [Snow Fight]
n. 101, Lyon Monplaisir, FR 1896. - "Filmed not far from the Institut Lumière" (T. F.).
DCP. Da: Institut Lumière, Lyon
AA: Last year was the 120th anniversary of the cinema as counted from the official premiere of Cinématographe Lumière on 28 December 1895, at the very end of the year. It is well judged for Bologna's Il Cinema Ritrovato to start their new programming concept, Anno Uno, "120 years ago", in 2016, focusing on the first full Lumière year of the cinema, 1896. (Alternatively one could also have defined 1894 as Anno Uno as commercial film production started on 6 March 1894 when Eugen Sandow posed for Edison).
Again, it is amazing to witness how advanced the art of cinema was in the beginning. The films were less than one minute long. They were single shot films. There was no montage. But what they achieved was already often perfect. The art of observation. The beauty of the light. The composition. The mise-en-scène. And a specialty of the Lumière team: a joy of life. There is a sense of a smile in these movies. We feel a delight in the act of the cinematography on both sides of the camera.
There is a focus on Lumière in the Anno Uno series. No Edison movies are included. If they were screened, the contrast would be illuminating. Edison came first, and the presentation of his kinetoscope in Paris in 1894 fascinated the Lumières. Then they proceeded in doing everything differently. Edison was a brilliant engineer, and so were the Lumières, but the brothers were also artists, and they established cinema as an art.
It is always rewarding to watch Lumière films. The prints that I have seen have been wildly disparate. In Finland we used to screen duplicates from the 1960s covering the first shows in Helsinki and Budapest. In 1987 I saw a splendid Cent films Lumières compilation (1895-1905) from CNC in one of the FIAF 50th Anniversary touring shows. And in 1991 there was another great compilation of one hundred films called Les Films de Lumière, Louis Lumière et ses opérateurs 1895-1898, compiled by Vincent Pinel at La Cinémathèque française in six thematic sections. It was the opening programme of a touring show called 100 années Lumière, a magnificent history of French non-fiction, one of the best retrospectives I have seen. The Vincent Pinel programme was based on prints made by the Boyer laboratory for Henri Langlois. I had too little experience for comparisons, but the impression of beauty from this show has been permanent with me. In Pordenone in 1995 in the Centenary of the Cinema screenings there was an illuminating show, Lumière: i primi film / The Early Films, 76 new prints from AFF / CNC with key titles such as Sortie d'usine screened in different versions. In 2006 we acquired from AFF / CNC and Association Frères Lumière good quality new prints of films screened in 1896 in Helsinki; that set we screen regularly. In Bologna in 2010 Thierry Frémaux moderated at Piazza Maggiore a Soirée Lumière compilation (2009) on digital video with 97 titles, many of which I had never seen before.
I am recalling all this now since I was stunned to see the superior visual quality of today's show based on a digital restoration at 4K resolution. Thierry Frémaux stressed the attempt that had been made at catching the photographic quality and texture. I am writing these remarks post festum, after the end of this year's Il Cinema Ritrovato, having seen all but one of the ten Anno Uno shows. This first show was screened for some reason at ProRes, yet it looked both luminous and fine in soft detail. I am truly looking forward to seeing real 4K Lumière projections next. The sense of depth is beautiful in the deep focus compositions. The joyous sense of life has never looked better in the Lumière presentations I have seen before.
NB. To the section "Da Lione alla scoperta del mondo e della felicità / From Lyon to Discovering the World and Happiness" I copied the texts for the captions from the Catalogue Lumière website, https://catalogue-lumiere.com/. In some cases the info in the Catalogue Lumière site differs from the Bologna catalog. In those cases I presume the Bologna catalog info is correct.