Game of Cards

A card game features three men with cigars and an overly-animated waiter. French. Original title: Partie de cartes

Tightly framed, early Lumières short that I have a hard time accepting as a documentary. Unless people in the late-nineteenth century were all hyperactive, I suspect this is one of the earliest (the earliest?) staged [comic?] scenes that the Lumières filmed. From the gesticulations of the players to the ¡enthusiasm! of the waiter, I smell theatricality. The “game” is filmed from the empty side of the table, making you feel like a participant who’s long ago run out of money and been pushed aside. It’s a wonder: the rarity and novel attraction of a camera in 1895 and its smartphone ubiquity a little over a century later. Does that mean we’re naturally theatrical in public now?

Louis Lumière, 1895


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