Sun

25/07

Cinema Jolly > 14:30

1901: Forwards! The film – British Narratives

Piano accompaniment by

Meg Morley. Drums accompaniment by Frank Bockius

There is one absolutely revolutionary moment in British Victorian film – a Great Leap Forward – when a policeman, too busy alerting the fire brigade to a burning house to realise he is making film history, runs out of one scene and into another. James Williamson, the filmmaker of Fire! (1901) who pulls off this advance in the control of cinematic time, had a clarity of vision about the conceptual workings of storytelling and an awareness of how the viewer would understand a film story that was, as his biographer Martin Sopocy put it, unparalleled in the pioneer period.
It has been assumed by some historians that this was more or less accidental in an era sometimes patronisingly referred to as primitive. I think Williamson knew exactly what he was doing – he had already demonstrated a method for increasing tension by cross-cutting in his second version of Attack on a China Mission (1900) and The Big Swallow (1901) shows a confident and playful awareness of the self-reflexivity of film as experienced by the viewer. Likewise Stop Thief! (1901), despite one lapse in the direction of travel, is a chase film like so many that came after.
This programme of his films demonstrates this narrative vision from 120 years ago, together with films from Robert Paul and George Albert Smith who were in this same year making advances in the use of closeups, point-of-view vignettes and the concept of the frame. Paul also played with the multi-part adaptation that had begun with stories told in tableaux such as Biograph’s Rip Van Winkle (1896), Méliès’ Cinderella (1899) and Barbe bleue (1901) and Paul’s Scrooge and The Magic Sword (both 1901), several of which would go on, in 1902, to form the basis for longer narratives when they were reissued as joined-up films.

Bryony Dixon

Projection
Info

Sunday 25/07/2021
14:30

Subtitle

Original version with subtitles

Book

Visit to Pompeii

International Title
Visit to Etna
Year: 1901
Country: Gran Bretagna
Running time: 8'
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

The Sick Kitten

International Title
The Little Doctor and the Sick Kitten
Director: G.A. Smith
Year: 1901
Country: Gran Bretagna
Running time: 1'
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

A Photograph Taken from Our Area Window

International Title
Story Told by Feet only Seen through Railings, A Study in Feet
Director: Robert W. Paul
Year: 1901
Running time: 1'
Edition
2021

The Countryman and the Cinematograph

International Title
The Countryman’s First Sight of Animated Pictures
Director: Robert W. Paul
Year: 1901
Country: Gran Bretagna
Running time: 1'
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Artistic Creation

Director: Walter R. Booth
Year: 1901
Country: Gran Bretagna
Running time: 1'
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Marley’s Ghost

International Title
Scrooge
Italian Title
5
Director: Walter R. Booth
Year: 1901
Film Version

English intertitles

Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

The Magic Sword

International Title
A Mediaeval Mystery
Director: Walter R. Booth
Year: 1901
Country: Gran Bretagna
Running time: 3'
Edition
2021

Are You There?

Director: James Williamson
Year: 1901
Country: Gran Bretagna
Running time: 1'
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Stop Thief!

International Title
Sam Dalton (il vagabondo).
Director: James Williamson
Year: 1901
Country: Gran Bretagna
Running time: 2'
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

The Big Swallow

Director: James Williamson
Year: 1901
Country: Gran Bretagna
Running time: 1'
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Fire!

Director: James Williamson
Year: 1901
Country: Gran Bretagna
Running time: 5'
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021