1907: 5 movies

posted 2012 August 5

Le piano irrésistible
Directed by Alice Guy

   It's a simple but revolutionary story, which brings a smile to the face. It also gives music the credit it deserves. Remarkably, it does so without any sound.
   The title translates as "The irresistible piano".

Le scarabée d'or
Directed by Segundo de Chomón and/or Ferdinand Zecca 

   A magic show put on by a turbaned man, turns into a water show, then a fire show, and finally gets out of hand. Stunningly psychadelic with the bursts and sprays of color. 
   The title translates as "The golden beetle".

Les kiriki - acrobates japonais
Directed by Segundo de Chomón

   Even though the trick to this movie might be quickly figured out by many contemporary viewers, the gusto of the group performance is quite irresistible. The intricacy of the choreography and the patterns are a welcome treat, even while we might laugh at the efforts to convey some implausible illusions of gravity-defiance. The bit of condescension that comes over us as we watch is forgivable because, after all, we've seen quite a bit of cinematic advancement in the more than hundred years since this was made. There's nothing wrong with seeing how much we've grown, and whistfully admiring our shining, silly adolescence.
   Extra kudos to the beautiful frame, coloring, and the makeup and costume department. The title translates as "The kiriki, Japanese acrobats".

La Marseillaise
Directed by Georges Mendel
Starring Jean-Baptiste Noté

   Allegedly, this isn't a lip-synched phonoscene movie like the ones Alice Guy made the previous year. Rather, director Mendel supposedly connected the audio and visual recorders together in order to synch the image and the sound. And for that reason, this movie represents a step forward for technology. But even if it had been a lip-synched movie, it still would have been worthy of inclusion to the canon, because it's a spirited rendition of the wonderful French national anthem, and the staging is appropriately dramatic. The fine voice and image belongs to French opera star Jean-Baptiste Note.

Les oeufs de Pâques
Directed by Segundo de Chomón
Starring Julienne Mathieu

   Giving a slight twist to Georges Melies special effects, director Chomon presents us with this pleasant visual feast wherein a fairy woman cracks open large easter eggs from which various dancers emerge to entertain us. The dances become more elaborate until the woman transforms the eggs into live babies, which she eventually makes disappear. The coloring is pretty admirable, as well. 
   The title translates as "Easter eggs".

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