Posts Tagged ‘Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory’

As the rich and the famous of the film industry gather this coming weekend in Hollywood for the Oscar ceremony, I wonder how many of them would recognise this dusty little building on the sea-front at La Ciotat?  Incredibly it’s the world’s oldest cinema.

When the lights first went down on the evening of 21st March 1899 at the Eden cinema, la Ciotat locals enjoyed the the world’s first public film show in a cinema.

It was organised by the wealthy Lumière Brothers – Auguste and Louis – whose father had a photographic factory in Lyon.  The brothers’ first film was of the workers leaving the factory – under one minute of footage, and shown in a café in Paris in 1895.  The family had moved to live in La Ciotat at the Chateau du Close des Plages, a sumptuous house with90 hectares of land next to the sea.

At the Eden, locals could see other one-minute films developed by the Lumières.  ‘L’Arrivée du Train en Gare de La Ciotat’ startled the audience as the train moved towards them. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dgLEDdFddk

  ‘L’Arroseur Arrosé’ showed the family gardener tricked by a small boy who stood on his hose – and then squirted him with water – the world’s first comic sequence on film.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd4jSTBhYDw

And there was a very sweet film of Auguste and Marguerite Lumière feeding baby Andrée in their garden at La Ciotat.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ2mLwv7pOM

We had just had lunch in a backsteet café in the town and watched a young couple spooning food into their little one.  Over one hundred years later, some family basics haven’t changed at all.

The Eden was rescued from squatters, then developers who wanted to build flats, 30 years ago.  Now it is listed as a historic building and is being restored as part of the MP2013 Year of Culture programme.

The Lumiere brothers

Image via WikipediaImage via Wikipedia

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