Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Last Cartridges (1897)

THE LAST CARTRIDGES, an 1897 film by Georges Melies, represents one of the earliest instances of a painting serving as a direct inspiration for the subject of a film. Melies re-created on film the 1873 painting by Alphonse de Neuville, which depicted the attack on a house in Bazeille, during the Battle of Sedan of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870.

Melies, and other early filmmakers, drew frequently upon historical events -- both contemporary and those in the recent and distant past -- as subjects for their films. What makes these subjects so compelling -- to audiences then and now -- is the use of the camera's capability for immediacy and authenticity, creating a vivid and visceral depiction of these events not possible in other media.

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