The movie history and industry has been linked to France since its beginnings in the late XIXth Century. A Frenchman, Louis Aimé Auguste le Prince, who mysteriously disappeared during a train journey from Dijon to Paris, is credited to have produced the oldest movie that has survived until today.
Roundhay Garden Scene ( Une Scène au jardin Roundhay ) by Louis Aimé Auguste le Prince.
This 2 seconds movie was shot in October 1888 in Roundhay, Leeds in England. The actors are Le Prince’s son Adolphe, Joseph and Sarah Whitley and Harriet Hartley. Le Prince left other works such as The Accordion Player or Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge.
Poor Pete ( Pauvre Pierrot ) by Charles-Emile Reynaud in 1892.
One of the first world’s animated movie ( Reynaud has already produced The Clown and his Dogs the same year ). The movie consists of 500 hand painted images for a duration of 15 minutes.
Train Pulling into a Station ( L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat ) by Louis and Auguste Lumière in 1895.
Filmed in 1895 but released in January 1896, this 50 seconds long documentary is one of the most famous movies of all time, renown for its myth about people panicking due to the train coming in their direction during its first projection.
The Waterer watered ( L’Arroseur Arrosé ) by Louis Lumière. Shot in the city of Lyon in 1895.
This 49 seconds long movie may be the first to portray a fictional story and has the particularity to be one of the earliest example of comedy in cinema. The actor playing the waterer is Lumière’s own gardener, a man named François Clerc. The boy was played by two actors ( in different versions ), Léon Trotobas then Lumière’s carpenter Benoît or Daniel Duval.
The Cabbage Fairy ( La Fée aux Choux ) by Alice Guy-Blaché. Released in 1896, this 60 seconds long ( maybe the longest movie ever made at the time ) tells the popular folktale of baby boys being born in cabbages. Alice Guy-Blaché was the first female director in the cinema industry, as well as the first to make a narrative story-based movie. She produced over a thousand movies in a two decades long career. Around 350 of her productions have survived.
The Last Cartridges ( Bombardement d’une maison ) by Georges Méliès
This is a 1897 is 70 seconds long war movie showing the famous fighting in a house during the 1870 Franco-Prussian war at the battle of Bazeilles. It was inspired by Alphonse de Neuville’s painting The Last Cartridges.