Sunday, 9 March 2014

Exiting the Factory (1895)

I think, at forty-six seconds long, this is not only the oldest but also the shortest film I will ever cover on this blog and, more to the point, an easy blog post to make in a snatched spare moment such as this one. Still, it is generally considered the first ever film to have been a commercial cinema release, although this is disputed.

The film consists of no more than Louis Lumiere's employees leaving his factory at the end of their shifts on three occasions. There seems little point, given what it is, in discussing the quality or style, but it's a bizarre and interesting historical document. We are used to seeing Victorians in stiff and stern-looking photographs, with everyone looking rather pissed off at having to stand still for so long. But here there is much running, jumping and prattling about; a much more accurate portrayal of what people were actually like. 

The other noticeable thing, aside from the dogs(!), is how very overdressed everyone is for a shift in a factory, especially the women. 

It's worth spending 46 seconds having a look: the film is up on YouTube and is, obviously, on the public domain.

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