First of all, I’m glad you want to know more about this beautiful art, about its beginnings. As you, probably, already know, I’ll publish every 2 months an article, which will cover American, French, German, Italian, and Romanian cinema. In this first one, I’ll try to write a short introduction to the cinema in general. I’ll try to make these articles as interesting as I can, because I think you must know your past, to learn from it.
The Birth of Cinema
So, 1895 was the year when all started. The Lumière brothers created the Cinèmatographe, which proved to be more practical than Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope. Before that, in 1888, Louis Le Prince created Roundhay Garden Scene, a 2.11 seconds film, which is considered the oldest surviving movie in the world. But what Lumière brothers did was something extraordinary for that time.
One of the first films they created is called “The Arrival of a Train at a Station” (L’Arrivé d’un Train en Gare de la Ciotat), which is a 50 seconds sequence. The stories tell that people hide under the tables and chairs because they thought it was a real train. Nobody couldn’t imagine what will happen in the following years. On 28 December 1895, at Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris, the Lumières presented 10 short films, including the one above: “The Exit from the Lumière factory in Lyon.” (La Sortie de l’usine Lumière à Lyon), and The Gardener (Le Jardinier) are the most important.
News spread and everyone wanted to see this wonder. And so movie theaters became very popular, much like cabarets, which was an important fact especially in Paris. From that point till 1927 this period is known as the silent era of film. The Library of Congress, national library of the US, said that 14% of the 10919 silent films produced by American studios between 1912 and 1929 are preserved in original formats. There are a lot of movies no one knows about.
From the day the Lumière brothers brought the film to the screen, almost every country wanted to produce movies after their national stories. Every director wanted to impress the audience with something unique, that’s why, in only a couple of years, cinema was at a whole new level.
Georges Méliès created, in 1902, the first important movie, in the true sense of the word. Le voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon) impressed everyone with the montage, with a proper story, and with some unencountered effects. The film has 14 minutes, and when you think 7 years ago a film had 50 seconds.
I’d say, in 108 years from Méliès’s film, cinema has experienced an, almost, exponential growth. Who knows what the future will bring us?
Anyway, this was the first article from a long series, I hope. There are a lot of things I didn’t mention, but I’ll try to write about them in future articles. I hope you liked it, and if you want to say something about it don’t hesitate. Stay safe and enjoy it!