Friday, May 22, 2009

Some very short films

The Library of Congress has a YouTube account.

I know it sounds a little surprising, but it's actually pretty neat. There are a number of recent presentations from the Library of Congress, but a collection of very early films, by Thomas Edison, was added about a month ago. The earliest surviving copyrighted film is of a sneeze. There is also what looks to be the first pillow fight ever filmed - flying feathers and all. Most, if not all, of the films are a minute or less long, but still incredible to watch.

"Newark Athlete" was an experimental fragment filmed in 1891. I think the "reanimated" version shown here is really beautiful. Pause on the film - how do you think they manipulated the image? What are those waves of light?

"May Irwin Kiss," filmed in 1896, is a scene from a New York stage comedy. I like how the actors are trying to kiss and then kissing, but they talk and seem to tease each other the whole time. I think it's sweet and funny.

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