Today Marks 123 Years of Cinema

A historical day

123 years ago, to the day, that is to say on March 22, 1895 in Paris, the Lumière brothers officially presented the first film of all time to a private audience dazzled by the innovation brought by the machine named the cinematograph. It is in fact on this precise date that the first diffusion of the sequence titled "Sortie de l'Usine Lumière de Lyon" (“Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory”) was held. It was filmed on the same cinématographe device (developed by Auguste) as it was projected on, and showed employees leaving the brothers' film factory in Lyon.

Video Credit: Youtube Channel Cyril Paziot 

The film was a very short 45 seconds and contains no audio to accompany it.  The cinematograph, developed by the Lumière brothers, allowed at the time, the capturing of images but also the projection of them. This made it possible to shoot the short sequence in Lyon only 3 days before its projection.

The film was then featured among a list of 10 similar films at the Grand Café Indian Salon in December of the same year. This diffusion was to set another milestone, marking the record as first public paid-for movie screening.

 Salon Indien du Grand Café de décembre 1895

Thanks to this film, the Lumière brothers are today considered the inventors of cinema. Some historians seem to prefer the work of Thomas Edison as the pioneer of cinema. Although, Edison only began public showings of his films at Koster and Bial's Music Hall on 34th Street in New York City on April 23, 1896.

However, what sets the Lumiere brothers apart from Edison is that they developed a tool that allows for the projection of films in front of a collective audience while Edison's ‘kinetograph’ only allowed for individual viewing of the sequences.



The Lumière brothers are closer to the concept of cinema that is represented today because their first films testify to a search for the ideal setting and attention is given to the position of the cinematograph for the purpose of offering the best image possible to their audience. So similar to the cinema of today.

The Lumière Brothers (Auguste to the left et Louis to the right)

It’s interesting to note that at the time, the brothers later stated that “the cinema is an invention without any future” and declined to sell their camera to other filmmakers. Instead they concentrated on colour photography and in 1907 they launched their colour photography process, Autochrome Lumiere, onto the market.

The Lumière brothers, Cinématographe 


22 Mar 2018 by Alexandre Nessler

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