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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