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Arrival of a Train

by Kate Fortmueller

Arrival of a Train is likely the most iconic of the Lumière films and is often cited as the precursor to the realist or documentary impulse in filmmaking. Like many of the Lumière films this film is shot on location, creates a deep sense of space, and features some of their family members.

While this film is often noted for all of these traits, the subject of the film (the train) should be particularly interesting for CTCS 200 students and their Lumière/Edison inspired films. Although trains were not new technology in 1895 they were radically changing how people and goods moved between cities and countries. Trains standardized time, offered new bodily sensations, perception of movement, and new way of seeing the world. As you conceptualize your film try to think about technologies that might have the same kind of cultural significance.

Arrival of a Train (aka L’arrivée d’un train en Gare de la Ciotat) (1895)

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This film was shot in La Ciotat, France at the La Ciotat train station. The film features several members of the Lumiére family including Jeanne-Joséphine Lumière, Rose Lumière, Marguerite Lumière, and Andrée Lumière.

from Arrival of a Train (aka L’arrivée d’un train en Gare de la Ciotat) (1900)
Creator: Louis Lumière
Distributor: Kino Video
Posted by Kate Fortmueller