Paris, city of love, city of light and city of cinema, for more than 120 years and the invention of the cinematograph by the Lumière Brothers, the capital still arouses the same enthusiasm for the seventh art. It is undoubtedly this passion, still intact, which motivated the curators of the Musée d’Orsay to mount the new exhibition of the site entitled Finally the cinema! Arts, images and shows in France (1833-1907). Film lovers can enjoy themselves until January 16, 2022.

Presented in no chronological order of inventions, the exhibition Finally the cinema! is intentionally synchronic and thematic. The route brings together French film production from 1895-1907 with the history of the arts, from the invention of photography to the first years of the 20th century.e century. The exhibition brings together nearly 300 documents. Paintings, posters, books, photos, material and of course films, anonymous or signed by big names. It also highlights the importance of impressionist painters who experimented with the art of framing. As in the paintings of the painter Gustave Caillebotte who brings life into the image with close-ups of characters.

“This type of very modern framing we will find in the first views of the Lumière Brothers at the end of the 1890s where the first light operators put their cinematographs in the street and record the movement of passers-by”, explains Paul Perrin, curator at the Musée d’Orsay and curator of the exhibition.

The exhibition presents around fifty films in seven stages, all made before 1907. To attract the eye and reflect reality, the first films are sometimes colored frame by frame. The precious collection also conceals small treasures and reveals a motley production with some surprises. Comic films of course, but also, less known to the general public, erotic daguerreotypes. Before the cinema, there are trendy attractions, like the diorama. This device iThe fusionist includes painted canvases on transparent support, a chamber, a vision lens and a bellows. Through this play of lights, the large-scale painting is then animated.

Paris 1897: the capital is undergoing a metamorphosis. A new era, new rhythms of work, mass production of goods, assembly-line work, the cinema was born in the midst of the industrial revolution. The relationship to the image changes, and very quickly the need to see life in motion becomes central. “It is the exploitation of Man by Man and which generates new means, new forms to represent this time “, analysis Dominique Païni, curator of the exhibition.

Over the course of several major subjects such as the fascination for the spectacle of the city, the desire to record the rhythms of nature, the dream of an “augmented” reality by the restitution of color, sound and relief or Through immersion, the exhibition unfolds the adventure of the cinematograph and ends around 1906-1907 when the duration of the films lengthens. The screenings settled down in cities, the first dark room opened in Paris in 1906, the 7th art would become a mass hobby and offer film lovers all kinds of pleasures.

“Cinema at last! Arts, images and shows in France (1833-1907)” at Orsay Museum until January 16, 2022.


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