Monday, September 12, 2016

FILMBAY 2000 Greatest Films of All-Time (1888-2014) by Year # 0007 - BOAT LEAVING THE PORT (Louis Lumière, 1895, France, 1m, BW)


(Louis Lumière, 1895, France, 1m, BW)

BOAT LEAVING THE PORT / Barque sortant du port (Louis Lumière, 1895, France, 1m, BW)

Directed by     Louis Lumière
Produced by     Louis Lumière
Cinematography     Louis Lumière
Release dates 1895
Running time 46 seconds
Country     France
Language     Silent

Barque sortant du port (also known as Boat Leaving the Port) is an 1895 French short black-and-white silent film directed and produced by Louis Lumière. The film consists of a single shot of a boat leaving the port, being rowed into rough seas by three men. This scene is observed by two women and children who are standing on a nearby jetty.


It was filmed by means of the Cinématographe, an all-in-one camera, which also serves as a film projector and developer. As with all early Lumière movies, this film was made in a 35 mm format with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It has also featured in a number of film collections including The Movies Begin - A Treasury of Early Cinema, 1894-1913.


This is a pleasing little feature from the earliest years of cinema, with a nicely planned camera field that catches action both in and out of the water. The motion of the waves, and to a lesser extent the strokes of the oarsmen, result in action that is lyrical, almost rhythmic.

As with so many of the pioneering Lumière features, it displays a very nice choice of material, whether by careful design, by a good intuitive feel. or by a combination of both. The motion of the boat on the water is balanced very nicely by the movements of the small group of women and children at the water's edge. As, again, with a good number of these very early features, it bears watching a couple of times. The boat is what grabs all of the attention at first, but the other half of the scene is also worth noticing.

The artistic-looking setting would have made a worthwhile subject for one of the great French Impressionist painters of the era. It is also the kind of nicely photographed little scene that would not have seemed out of place if it were used as footage in the middle of a feature made in a much later era, since it holds up very well. The very brief footage also leaves you with a little curiosity, since it has shown you a small, simple, but far from dull piece of the lives of these persons. It accomplishes its aim, and is pleasing to watch.

About Lumière Brothers

French inventors and pioneer manufacturers of photographic equipment who devised an early motion-picture camera and projector called the Cinématographe (“cinema” is derived from this name). Auguste Lumière (b. Oct. 19, 1862, Besançon, France—d. April 10, 1954, Lyon) and his brother Louis Lumière (b. Oct. 5, 1864, Besançon, France—d. June 6, 1948, Bandol) created the film La Sortie des ouvriers de l'usine Lumière (1895; “Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory”), which is considered the first motion picture.

Sons of a painter turned photographer, the two boys displayed brilliance in science at school in Lyon, where their father had settled. Louis worked on the problem of commercially satisfactory development of film; at 18 he had succeeded so well that with his father's financial aid he opened a factory for producing photographic plates, which gained immediate success. By 1894 the Lumières were producing some 15,000,000 plates a year. That year the father, Antoine, was invited to a showing of Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope in Paris; his description of the peephole machine on his return to Lyon set Louis and Auguste to work on the problem of combining animation with projection. Louis found the solution, which was patented in 1895. At that time they attached less importance to this invention than to improvements they had made simultaneously in colour photography. But on Dec. 28, 1895, a showing at the Grand Café on the boulevard des Capucines in Paris brought wide public acclaim and the beginning of cinema history.

The Lumière apparatus consisted of a single camera used for both photographing and projecting at 16 frames per second. Their first films (they made more than 40 during 1896) recorded everyday French life—e.g., the arrival of a train, a game of cards, a toiling blacksmith, the feeding of a baby, soldiers marching, the activity of a city street. Others were early comedy shorts. The Lumières presented the first newsreel, a film of the French Photographic Society Conference, and the first documentaries, four films about the Lyon fire department. Beginning in 1896 they sent a trained crew of innovative cameraman-projectionists to cities throughout the world to show films and shoot new material.

Camera movement

Framing, scale, and shooting angle are all greatly modified by the use of camera movement. Filmmakers began experimenting with camera movement almost immediately after the motion-picture camera was developed. In 1897 photographers employed by Auguste Lumière and Louis Lumière floated a cinématographe, the combination camera-projector devised by the French brothers, in a gondola through Venice to give viewers all over the world a dynamic view of that much-painted city.

One of the simplest and most common movements is to turn, or pan (from the word panorama), the camera horizontally so that it sweeps around the scene. It can also be tilted up or down in a vertical panning shot or in a diagonal pan, as when it follows an actor up a stairway. Panning was possible quite early in film history, but methods of physically conveying the camera itself through a scene developed more slowly. Initially the camera was mounted on a dolly, truck, or other hand-propelled wheeled vehicle to facilitate smooth movement. Later, tracks were laid for the dolly or truck to ride on, providing even smoother, more effortless motion. Trucking, dollying, and tracking can even be combined with panning in a complex movement that may require the adjustment of focus or aperture en route. One such camera movement that is often used imitates the gaze of a traveler who turns in a moving automobile or train to focus on a stationary point of interest.

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