Friday, October 5, 2018

Repas de bébé

One of the first films ever exhibited in public stars a child, Andrée Lumiere. Repas de bébé (Baby's Meal) was one of the films exhibited by the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, in Paris on December 28, 1895. This event, which demonstrated their new cinematograph, is often cited as the beginning of film as a public form of entertainment (the cinematograph had the ability to project its image on a screen so that it could be viewed by many people at once, unlike "peepshow" devices like Edison's kinetoscope). Andrée was the daughter of Auguste and Marguerite Lumière, who appear with her in the film. While her parents fuss over her, Andrée allows herself to be fed by spoon and makes a good effort at taking a bite from a solid food item. Because this film seems to record a slice of the Lumières’ real family life, this has been called the first home movie. Although the suggestion of naturalness is strong in the centrality of a baby and the breeze-blown trees in the background, it is, of course, a staged and performed scene. As surely as Auguste and Marguerite perform extra exuberance in feeding Andree while in front of the camera, Andrée delivers her own performance as she commands her parents' doting attention by her mere presence and alternately accepts and offers back her food props.

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