Louis Lumière (TV Movie 1968) Poster

(1968 TV Movie)

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So very French...
petersmovieposters-3637719 September 2018
Louis Lumiere (1968) is a fascinating oddity. Essentially a discussion between Jean Renoir, Henri Langlois, and Eric Rohmer about the short films of Louis Lumiere, samples of which are, happily, included throughout, it is as revealing about the '60s era cinema as it is about pre-1900 movie-making. Chain-smoking Langlois perfectly represents the Cahiers du Cinema crowd of the time with piles of pretentious hooey about Lumiere's art, joined to a much lesser degree by the older school Renoir who manages to temper his observations with a slightly less intellectual take on things. Still, it's good to see the old boy, he's not one of the usual suspects.

As we get close to being as distant from the nouvelle vague as Langlois and Renoir were from Lumiere there's a degree of irony in that the same level of pretentious hooey can be foisted onto Rohmer's creation as was put on Lumiere's. Still, theirs is a worthy conversation even if one is not persuaded by the arguments, not to mention it's always a treat to see original Lumiere shorts so it's got that going for it. Perhaps the most interesting conversation is at the very end when they discuss the difficulties of film preservation, a subject we're still trying to come to grips with all these decades later.
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