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L'Arroseur Arrosé

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L'Arroseur Arrosé
File:Arroseur Arrose.jpg
Screencap from L'Arroseur Arrosé
Directed by Louis Lumière
Produced by Louis Lumière
Starring François Clerc
Benoît Duval
Cinematography Louis Lumière
Release date(s) 1895
Running time 49 seconds
Country France
Language Silent

L'Arroseur Arrosé (also known as The Waterer Watered and The Sprinkler Sprinkled) is an 1895 French short black-and-white silent comedy film directed and produced by Louis Lumière and starring François Clerc and Benoît Duval. It was first screened on June 10 1895.

It has the distinction of being the earliest known instance of film comedy, as well as the first use of film to portray a fictional story. The film was originally known as "Le Jardinier" (The Gardener) or "Le Jardinier et le petit espiègle", and is sometimes referred to in English as "The Tables Turned on the Gardener", and "The Sprinkler Sprinkled".

Georges Méliès later copied the film with his own L'Arroseur in 1896.[1]

PlotEdit

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Shot in Lyons in the spring of 1895, the film portrays a simple practical joke in which a gardener is tormented by a boy who steps on the hose that the gardener is using to water his plants, cutting off the water flow. When the gardener tilts the nozzle up to inspect it, the boy releases the hose, causing the water to spray him. The gardener is stunned and his hat is knocked off, but he soon catches on. A chase ensues, both on and off-screen (the camera never moves from its original position) until the gardener catches the boy and administers a spanking. The entire film lasts only 49 seconds, but this simple bit of slapstick may be the forerunner of all subsequent film comedy.[2]

ProductionEdit

In the earliest years of the history of film, the cinema was used by pioneers such as Thomas Edison and the Lumières to entertain by the sheer novelty of the invention, and most films were short recordings of mundane events, such as a sneeze, or the arrival of a train. Ever seeking to innovate, the Lumières took some of the first steps toward narrative film with L'Arroseur Arrosé. Given the documentary nature of existing films up until this point, a scripted, comedic film shown among these was unexpected by an audience, enhancing its comedic surprise value.[3]

It was filmed by means of the Cinématographe, an all-in-one camera, which also serves as a film projector and developer. As with all early Lumière movies, this film was made in a 35 mm format with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.[4]

CastEdit

Louis Lumière used his own gardener, François Clerc, to portray the gardener. For the mischievous boy, Lumière used a young apprentice carpenter from the Lumière factory who is variously credited as Daniel Duval and Benoît Duval.[5]

  • François Clerc as Gardener
  • Benoît Duval as Boy (sometimes credited as Daniel Duval)

The posterEdit

The poster for L'Arroseur Arrosé has the distinction of being the first poster ever designed to promote an individual film. Although posters had been used to advertise cinematic projection shows since 1890, these early posters were typically devoted to describing the quality of the recordings and touting the technological novelty of these shows.[6] The poster for L'arroseur, illustrated by Marcellin Auzolle, depicts an audience (in the foreground) laughing as the film (in the background) is projected against a screen. It depicts the moment the gardener is splashed in the face, and is thus the first film poster to depict an actual scene from a film.[7]

Current statusEdit

Given its age, this short film is available to freely download from the Internet. It has also featured in a number of film collections including Landmarks of Early Film volume 1.[8]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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