The Lumiéres brothers, Louis and August, did not invent film, but they finished and practically used Edison’s kinetoscope, Their father was a fabricant from Lyon who manufactured photographic papers and therefore Louis and August had really good conditions for their invention. The project of Lumiéres brothers was really good from a technical standpoint and more perfect than other projects of that time. However, they were not the only ones who made it. J. Carpentier who was a mechanical engineer helped them with a prototype of the kinetoscope. Producers of photographic machines had their own kinetoscope, which was a combination of camera and projector. The kinetoscope was presented on the 13th November in Lyon to Photographic Company. August and Louis became famous.
They offered a film projection, which was their first experiment, to the Grand Café on Boulevard des Capusines in Paris. That happened on the 28th December 1895. The owner of the company earned 33 francs. They played 11 movies, which were about one minute long and the whole event lasted about 20 minutes. After some days there was a big line in front of the Grand Café. The film became fashionable and popular. The kinetoscope of the Lumiéres brothers was only the technical interest and the creators did not predict that their invention would be used as business. They were curious what viewers are going to say.
They hoped that it would be a helpful tool for science in the future. La sortie des usines (Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory), Le déjeuner du bébé (Baby’s Breakfast) L’arrivée d’un train en gare la ciotat (The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station) are films, which were made in 1895. Those movies change the size of viewpoint, the movement of camera, the space outside the camera and that is why the Lumiéres were the makers of film technique. The Lumiéres brothers presented also a documentary movie, which is called L´arrosuer arose (The Waterer Watered and The Sprinkler Sprinkled). They got an idea of this movie when they saw humoristic drawings in the bookstore. In fact, Hermann Vogel also influences them, when he drew nine drawings about a naughty boy. August and Louis did never try to create a short movie, which would reproduce any anecdote or cartoon joke.
They were not interested in these kinds of movies. Besides that, they sold their patent to Charles Pathé who was an organizer of entertainment events in France. Their movies were popular as we can see on the picture below. People were very interested in their movies and they did not make always calm atmosphere. Lumiéres brothers made movies in a purpose. They wanted to people think about it. They wanted to see people a real world. That’s why people argued and some people just enjoyed. No all social classes were participated at that time, but when the movies started to be better, the lower classes started to participate as well.
The kinetoscope was famous, because engineers and inventors worked on mechanical toys such as praxinoscope or zoescope. Those toys were popular with children and adults, because they offered an illusion of real movement of animals or human beings. These scientific attempts, technical inventions or mechanical toys had ideas of synthetic art. At the end of the 19th century, the kinetoscope was finally patented. This news was not attracted by artists, but businessmen and organizers of entertainment. The artists sentimentalized a movie theatre as an enemy of all noble artistic ambitions. Movie theatres were popular everywhere in the world in 1914, but Maurice Maeterlinck, who was a Belgium author, predicted the end of the kinetoscope. During the 19th century the disagreement between art and the kinetoscope disappeared.
The film started to divert from fans and makers and started to be more about art’s aspirations. It was a long process, where there were a lot of difficulties. However, the film unstoppably went up. Every step forward meant a better movie.
As we know what directors used a century ago and what they use right now, we can see a huge improvement. This small machine on the left made a film as a big phenomenon and made an impact on all people. All real brilliant things are really simple in reality. The revolution occurred when there was a possibility to use a camera and projection. The elimination of electricity at that time made a machine cheaper and an opportunity to make a video everywhere. What would Edison think about the machine today? He would like it. He was a type who supported new discoveries and he wanted to make things even better. He worked hard for all his discoveries. “Personally, I enjoy working about 18 hours a day. Besides the short catnaps I take each day, I average about four to five hours of sleep per night.” said Edison (Gerald Beals).
George Méliés was born in 1861 and he was one of the 50 most famous filmmakers. At the beginning he did not give a credit to the kinetoscope and he perceived it as a complement for his repertoire. His first movies were not that different from Lumiéres movies. It was not a long time and he started to be interested in the kinetoscope, which he used for his own tricks. He created a film magic, when he united theatre magic and photographic magic. In 1897 he built the first film atelier in Mountreuil, close to Paris. This atelier was a mix of theatre stage and film studio with a professional technique. In this atelier he produced all his famous movies. For example, A Trip to the Moon (La Voyage dans la Lune, 1902), The Impossible Voyage (Le Voyage á travers l’Impossible, 1904) and Conquest of the Pole (Á la Conquéte du Pole, 1910). “A Trip to the Moon” is about astronauts who make a trip to the moon.
They build a big capsule, which they use as a vehicle. The moon follows the approaching capsule and it hits him in the eye. After this dangerous landing, the astronauts go to sleep. They dream about girls from Folies-Bergéres. Instead of them, Saturn and Phoebe (the goddess of the moon) are coming and they wake the astronauts up. The astronauts would like to hide in a cave, where there are big mushrooms. One of the astronauts opens his umbrella to compare the size of it and the mushrooms. At this point, the Selenites, who are the inhabitants of the moon, are coming. The astronauts and the Selenites fight against each other. The Selenites win and the astronauts are arrested. At the end of this movie, the astronauts, the capsule and one Selenita fall down in the universe into the ocean.
They are evacuated and saved. This performance is an old school adventure with horizontal scrolling of camera, logic riddles, interaction and eccentric location. This movie is based on convention, which was created for fun and echo of the future. At that time, the film art was seen as a real life and Méliés’ performance was very visionary. “It’s one of the most famous films in the world. The shot of the man in the moon with a rocket in his eye is one of the 10 images everyone knows, except no one has seen it like this.” said Serge Bromberg of France’s Lobster Films (Turan, Kenneth). Méliés was an author, director, painter, producer and actor. His movies were childish.
He moved a film forward, because he defined particular areas of film as an author, director, cameraman, film artist or make-up artist. In 1899 Georges Méliés introduced camera tricks, which he plentifully used for his production of short movies and to attract attention. He did not even think about that his tricks would be important in the future. He was a creator of the “stop trick”, which is now often being used. Méliés discovered this trick randomly. He was filming on the street and his camera got broken and the film stopped. After a while the camera started to work, but the situation on the street changed. People and cars changed positions. Later when he watched his film, he saw that one vehicle changed into another vehicle and people changed positions as well. With this discovery he could transform actors on the stage or someone could disappear. For today’s viewer this trick is not any great miracle, but at that time everyone was impressed. At that time, the audience was enthusiastic.
If we compare movies right now and movies many years go, we will see a huge difference. The screen is not black and white, but it is colorful. We invented new equipment, which make the movies better every day. New technologies are equal to new ideas and new tricks. Let’s compare “ The Very First Motion Picture” and “The Matrix Movie Mistakes.” We can see that in that first mentioned video there is a motion of movement. In the second one, we can see what happened during more than 200 years. Movie tricks are a good thing. It is an addition of that particular movie. On the other hand, some movies are based only on tricks, for example The Matrix. Someone prefers real movies and someone prefers those kinds of movies. I am a big supporter that some tricks are just too much. Directors try to make movies real, but they make mistakes. After that, the movie looks really unreal and that is how a movie should not look like.
Years 1900-1908 were very important in film art, because there was a big development of movie theatres. That time the film was considered as an interesting show. Fair businessmen, who were the best at organizing, took care of those events. At the beginning of the 20th century, the audience was getting united, the number of fans increased and there was a social need of film. The film screening became the most important attraction. People watched films because it was absolutely a new form of entertainment. People started to watch movies in a movie theatre, because they wanted to know more about the world. They wanted to know update news and to watch an interesting story. This moment was decisive. The process by which the film stopped to be only an attraction and started to be an art was different in every country. However, the result was the same. In 1918 there was a big improvement and development of film. The film won.
The film art appears to be really young, but the opposite is true. The first steps of film are written deep in our history and the turn of the 19th century helped us to know film better. The film has a very long road and rich history. Since the 19th century the film has changed in many ways. There were many inventors and people, who helped to create photos and then they developed this idea. If they did not do it, the film would not exist this time. Some people did not believe in film screening and they demanded the ban of it. The film became to be a part of our lives because of Thomas Alva Edison, August and Louis Lumiére, Georges Méliés and many other people.
The 21st century is about movies, music and fashion. People would appreciate the film even more if they knew that something like that could have happened one hundred years ago. However, can people appreciate something that they can find everywhere? No, they can’t. We just watch a movie and we say if it is good or bad. Some people call movies “A” movies or “B” movies. We should think first what the movie is about and why directors made the film like that. We might think how much work they did or how much money the spent, but we should appreciate the film. The film is an art.