Snowball Fight

Adults pulverize each other with snowballs, then turn their collective attention to a passing byciclist: Though shalt not pass! French. Original title: Bataille de boules de neige

Staged scene of mass action. It’s always fun to wonder about these early films: is this the first time snow appears in a film, what about a bicycle, or a snow fight? Who knows, but it’s a mature film for its time—despite the snowballs. The playful adults take up the foreground, but the film’s narrative actually concerns itself with the man on the bicycle, who materializes in the background and moves toward the camera. The question: will he be able to get past the snow-ballers? No, the protagonist will be defeated (bike goes crash!) and choose to turn back. It’s a sad ending, really; the conflict is resolved, the hero is defeated. Perhaps another time, on another day, after the snow melts.

Auguste & Louis Lumière, 1896


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