F.: Auguste François. Distr.: Gaumont. DCP. Bn.
In Yunnan, at the end of the Qing dynasty, Auguste François (1857-1935), a consul, photographer and amateur ethnographer, documents with a camera provided by Léon Gaumont scenes of daily life in the streets of Yunnanfu (now Kunming), but also more exceptional events such as a dragon dance or Chinese theatre performance (in which all female roles are played by men). The films were shot between 1901 and 1904 and the surviving footage runs to about an hour. Aware that he was witnessing things that his compatriots ignore, and that risked disappearing, François produced reports combining detailed stories, photos, films, and collections of objects. Interestingly, some of the footage was shot during or directly after the Boxer Uprising, which took place in China between 1899 and 1901. The Cinémathèque française and the CNC present a short selection of this ongoing safeguarding work. In the 1970s Jean de Mallmann, a nephew of Mme François, took the initiative to save these precious documents. On the advice of Henri Langlois, he instructed the Boyer laboratory to make several 16mm and 35mm security copies from the nitrate copy. Our thanks go to the Auguste François association, which since the 1990s has aimed to make Auguste François known and to work for the conservation and dissemination of his work, and also to Béatrice de Pastre and the CNC.
Marianne Bauer and Pierre Seydoux
Rue du Faubourg du Sud à Yun-Nan-Sen (n. 1203)
Retour à Yun-Nan-Sen du Général en chef Licou (n. 1285)
Le Barbier dans la rue (n. 1242)
La Chasse aux poux (n. 1235)
Le Jeu du dragon (n. 1236)
Fumeurs d’opium (n. 1224)
Repas chinois (n. 1225)
Danseuse (n. 1260)