1892: 1 movie

posted 2012 June 2

Pauvre Pierrot
Directed by Charles-Émile Reynaud
Made in France.

   There are fourteen years separating this from the previous selection, but there was plenty going on in those years, including Muybridge's other movies as well as ideas and developments by the Lumiere brothers, by Thomas Edison, and by Charles-Emile Reynaud. This movie came about because of Reynaud's development of a projector that could play more slides, but we include it because it is one of the first three movies to have a story. We say one of the first three movies because the director created at least three movies in 1892, and this is the only one we have so far been able to watch. It may be the only one still in existance. 
   Some don't consider this a true movie, since there was no photography involved. The figures were painted on a slide and shifted in front of a set painted background, the composite drawings were then projected while being rotated by Reynaud himself. But we include it because to the viewer it is less important how a movie was created than that it features moving images.  What separates it from shadow shows is that those aren't recorded, you can never see the same one twice, but Reynaud's movies were shown over and over again, always with the same images. Also, Reynaud's movies were projected on a screen or wall apart from the projecting device and not within it. 
   The close-up of the woman's second story terrace seems like it was done after the fact, so this is not considered the first instance of a close-up nor the first change of setting. If you now consider this selection an animated movie, you should know that it isn't the first, since Muybridge's painted silhouette version of The Horse in Motion has that honor.
   Pauvre Pierrot is still engaging for its pretty setting of night-time setting at a French villa belonging to a comely woman. The drama between the two fellows who woo her reveals the main character's charming albeit mischievous personality, and brings up themes of drunkenness, trick-playing, and a happy ending. The whole thing has a lightly naughty air about it, but it is also an undeniably delicious one. The title translates from French as "Poor Pierrot".

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