Demolition of a Wall

Auguste Lumière leads the destruction of a wall at the brothers’ factory grounds. French. Original title: Démolition d’un mur

One of my favourite Lumière films. The short has a natural sense of motion and cinema, as well as a clear conflict (men against wall) and full narrative arc. The climax, the successful toppling of the wall, is a most-cinematic moment. When it was screened for audiences in the 19th century, the film was sometimes played forwards and backwards. The latter adds a sense of surreal beauty, not unlike the effect of backwards-diving athletes in Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia.

Louis Lumière, 1896

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