40 Great Filmmakers Go Old School, Shoot Short Films with 100 Year Old Camera

In 1995, 40 inter­na­tion­al­ly-rec­og­nized direc­tors took part in a col­lab­o­ra­tive film, Lumiere & Com­pa­ny, that cel­e­brat­ed the first hun­dred years of cin­e­ma. In mak­ing the film, each direc­tor had to agree to four rules. They had to shoot a short film 1.) using the orig­i­nal Ciné­matographe invent­ed by the Lumière Broth­ers a cen­tu­ry before — the same cam­era that shot Work­ers Leav­ing The Lumière Fac­to­ry in Lyon (1895), one of the ear­li­est motion pic­tures ever made. Their films 2.) had to be one con­tin­u­ous shot and could­n’t be longer than 52 sec­onds; 3.) they could­n’t use syn­chro­nized sound or arti­fi­cial lights; and 4.) they were only allowed three takes, no more. As for the results? They ran the gamut. Above Chi­nese film­mak­er Zhang Yimou play­ful­ly shows a cou­ple dressed in tra­di­tion­al garb turn­ing into punk rock­ers, danc­ing to the sounds of Nir­vana atop the Great Wall of Chi­na. And below, we have:

Wim Wen­ders revis­it­ing Berlin and the angels from Wings of Desire, his land­mark 1987 film.

David Lynch giv­ing us the essen­tials of a mur­der sto­ry in one minute. He called the short Pre­mo­ni­tions Fol­low­ing an Evil Deed.

Liv Ull­mann cap­tur­ing the leg­endary cin­e­matog­ra­ph­er Sven Nykvist, famous for his work with Ing­mar Bergman. Here, Nykvist films Ull­man­n’s cam­era as it films him.

Acclaimed Iran­ian direc­tor Abbas Kiarosta­mi using extreme min­i­mal­ism to tell the tale of unre­quit­ed love.

And Spike Lee giv­ing us a retro home movie.

All shorts will be added to our col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online.

Source: Roger Ebert.com

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Comments (4)
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  • Iason Ouabache says:

    David Lynch cheat­ed. That was­n’t a con­tin­u­ous shot.

  • John Imholt says:

    I have a ques­tion. Why were all the ear­ly films lim­it­ed to only 52 Sec­onds? Was this lim­it­ed by the length of film that could be made at that Time?

    Thank you,
    John Imholt

  • Matt says:

    Yes, it was a sin­gle con­tin­u­ous shot with some cre­ative scene tran­si­tions / changes. Would we expect any­thing dif­fer­ent? Also on the “Lumiere and Com­pa­ny” DVD were videos of the direc­tors in action direct­ing these shorts. Lynch is trav­el­ing along behind the cam­era bark­ing out direc­tions. But it’s all a sin­gle shot.

  • Matt says:

    John, I believe they used film that was stan­dard for that par­tic­u­lar cam­era at the time so, yes, it like­ly only used a 52-sec­ond “mag­a­zine.”

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