Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat

A train approaches a station, stops; its passengers get off and begin to mull on the boardwalk amidst a gathering crowd. French. Original title: L’arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat

Possibly the most famous Lumières short. It makes forceful use of depth [repeat well-worn story, perhaps true, of screen-train coming towards film audience, which goes wild with fear) and is made up two basic actions with two subjects: the choo-choo cutting across the screen diagonally and towards, followed by the people walking to / fro on the right side of the screen. A few come dangerously close to knocking into the camera; most don’t pay much attention to it. The camera, as attractive as it is, is less attractive than the train. One marvel of technology out-marvels another.

Auguste & Louis Lumière, 1896


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