Louis Lumière (TV Movie 1968) - Plot Summary Poster

(1968 TV Movie)


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  • Eric Rohmer leads a conversation with Jean Renoir and Henri Langlois on the art of filmmaker Louis Lumière. The cinematographic pioneer Lumière produced thousands of documentaries in the end of the 19th century, but also some short comedies with amateur actors. The films are done in one shot and are only 1 minute in length. Lumiére and his operators chose a place, put up the camera and then recorded what happened in front of the lens. In spite of this both Renoir and Langlois argue that the films of Lumière are not simply reproductions of reality, but pieces of art. Renoir points out that Lumiére didn't just reproduce the externals of what he saw, but also its spirit and inner life. The films are not only showing a piece of contemporary reality, but Lumière's vision of that reality. Langlois remarks that the films of Lumière were not made at random, but out of a consciously chosen dramaturgy and composition. Lumiére and his team chose, after long deliberations, the motif of the film as well as the camera-angle. There is usually some kind of beginning and end of the film. The main action never occurs in the center of the screen, but either at the right or the left side of it. This means that the main movements happen along a diagonal across the screen, which produces a dynamic impression. The films are made in one shot, but the shots are usually very deep, which means that you get some close-ups in the foreground at the same time as you see something happen in full scale behind that and something else even more far away. The conversation with Renoir and Langlois is interspersed with some of Lumière's films, to underline the arguments.


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