Pauvre Pierrot  (1892)

6.6 / 10

One night, Arlequin come to see his lover Colombine. But then Pierrot knocks at the door and Colombine and Arlequin hide. Pierrot starts singing but Arlequin scares him and the poor man goes away.

Country France

Genre Short, Comedy, Romance, Animation

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An Evening Illuminated: Pauvre Pierrot

Iain Stott | An Evening Illuminated | artemisnt.blogspot.co.uk | English

Émile Reynaud | 1892 | 
???
Restored by Julien Pappé in 1993 with a score by Gaston Paulin, Émile Reynaud’s fascinating animated short film sees the eponymous poor soul attempting to serenade his dearest love, Columbine, only to be scared away by another suitor, the nefarious Harlequin. The film originally debuted in 1892 at Le Musée Grévin, Paris, using the director’s patented Théâtre Optique system, which projected its hand-painted images onto a screen using a series of mirrors.

005 (1892): Pauvre Pierrot, entstanden und aufgeführt 1892 in Frankreich, Regie: Émile Reynaud

Sascha Dornhoefer | Jahr fuer Jahr | filmgeschichten.literaturbattleroyal.de | German

Ziemlich sicher: Der erste animierte Film, zudem der erste in Farbe und der erste mit musikalischer Untermalung und der erste narrative und der erste, der mit einem Poster beworben wurde[1], [2]. Bien sur: von einem Franzos. „Aaaaber Animationen gab es doch schon zuvor!“, werden Sie sagen. „Vor 5200 Jahren sogar schon, in so einer Drehschüssel, in die man reinschauen kann[3], die dann quasi immer weiterentwickelt und irgendwann mal Zoetrop genannt wurde[4]. So Drehscheiben[5] und Daumenkino[6] gabs auch schon und auch schon Projektionsverfahren, z.B. die Laterna Magica[7]! Außerdem übrigens sind doch diese Fotoserien (siehe Kapitel 001) ehrlichgesagt auch schon Filme.“ Stimmt wahrnehmungstechnisch alles, stimmt faktisch aber nicht, denn im vorliegenden Buch geht es nun mal um das Medium Film…und Reynaud rückprojizierte seine auf einen langen GelatineFILM gemalten Bilder mit einem vergleichsweise modernen und cineastischen Verfahren, dem von ihm erfundenen Praxinoskop, auf eine lichtdurchlässige Leinwand[2]. Dazu gab es bei den öffentlichen Aufführungen der  insgesamt drei im Jahre 1892 entstandenen Werke im Waxfigurenmuseum in Paris noch zünftige Livemusik von Gaston Paulin (Piano)[2]. Hätte es damals schon RTL II-News gegeben, hätte man vom ersten Public Viewing berichtet und also von der Geburt des Kinos (mit zahlendem Publikum). Hurra!!!  Reynaud jedenfalls, von Haus aus Mechaniker und Fotograph, konnte allein von der Vorführung seiner Kunst langfristig nicht leben und starb letztlich arm und depressiv in einem Heim, nicht allerdings ohne vorher seinen Apparat und unzählige seiner Zeichnungen wütend in der Seine zu versenken[7]. In Amerika indes drehten Edison und Co. weiter Sportclips und formierten sich zur härtesten Konkurrenz des jungen Marktes. Ihre Kamera war mittlerweile serienreif und somit kommerziell auswertbar, wozu sich die beiden Williams souverän vor dieser in ihrem Film A Hand Shake beglückwünschten[8]. Die Amis! Ach ja: Ein gewisser Louis Lumière macht erste Testaufnahmen[9].
Sie können „Pauvre Pierrot“ googeln und Sie werden etwas finden. Sie können auf Amazon.de, sofern Sie des Französischen mächtig sind, auch Jacques Kermabon’s Buch Du praxinoscope au cellulo: Un demi-siècle de cinéma d’animation en France (1892 – 1948) erstehen, dem eine DVD des Films beiliegt oder in der bei Quantum Leap erschienenen UK-DVD Méliès the Magician (bei Amazon.co.uk) beigemengten Doku The Magic of Méliès von Jacques Mény einen Ausschnitt betrachten. Wie auch immer, Sie werden eine betörende Story erleben, den liebestrunkenen Kampf von Pierrot und Harlequin um die hübsche Columbine. Während der hoffnungslos romantische Pierrot im Halbmondschein vor ihrer Haustür zunächst mit einem Strauß Blumen und dann mit einem gesungenen Ständchen zu überzeugen versucht, ist Harlequin eher so der plumpe und draufgängerische Schürzenjäger. Er lässt sich nichts Besonderes einfallen, will einfach nur ran an die Mutti und führt statt Blumen oder einer Gitarre stets einen Schlagstocks mit sich. Da sich die Auserwählte letztlich nicht so recht entscheiden kann oder will, kommt es zum dramatischen Showdown.  Wer der  “arme” Verlierer sein wird, darauf deutet der Titel des Films ja ziemlich unzweideutig hin. Die Vorführungen damals dauerten übrigens unterschiedlich lang, etwa zwischen 13 und 15 Minuten, und zwar weil Reynaud seinen 36 Meter langen Film – der ansonsten etwa dem 35 mm-Format[10] ähnelte, das Dickson bereits im Frühjahr 1891 entwickelt hatte[11] -via Handbetrieb von einer Rolle auf die andere spulte. Émile Reynaud war unwiederbringbar ein versatiler Held! Apropos Handbetrieb: Man munkelt die Nackidei-Foto-Animationen von Muybridge (siehe Kapitel 001) sollen für einige Kulturbaunausen dennoch animierender gewesen sein.
[1] Auzel, D. (1992). Emile Reynaud et l’image s’anima. Boulogne-Billancourt: Du May.
[2] Herbert, S. (1996a). Charles-Émile Reynaud (1844-1918). In S. Herbert, & L. McKernan, Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema: A Worldwide Survey. London: BFI Publishing.
[3] Ball, R. (12. März 2008). Animation Magazine: Oldest animation discovered in Iran. Abgerufen am 02. Februar 2011 von http://www.animationmagazine.net/features/oldest-animation-discovered-in-iran/
[4] Fang, I., & Ross, K. (1995-1996). The Media History Project: 1st – 11th Centuries. Abgerufen am 31. März 2007 von http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu/time/1099.html
[5] Plateau, J. (1839). Memoire Sur L’Irradiation. Brüssel.
[6] Gethmann, D., Gorschlüter, P., Groos, U., & Schulz, C. B. (2005). Daumenkino. The Flip Book Show. Köln: Snoeck.
[7] Pfragner, J. (1974). Motion Picture: From Magic Lantern to Sound Film. London: Bailey Bros. & Swinfen Ltd.
[8] Musser, C. (1994). The Emergence of Cinema: The American Screen to 1907 (History of the American Cinema). Berkeley: University of California Press.
[9] IMDb.com Inc. (1990-2011g). The Internet Movie Database – Le prince de Galles (1892). Abgerufen am 24. Februar 2011 von http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0234520/
[10] Mees, C. E. (1961). From dry plates to ektachrome film: A story of photographic research. New York: Ziff-Davis Publishing Inc.
[11] Robertson, P. (1993). Das neue Guinness Buch Film. Berlin: Ullstein Hc.

Essential Films - Chapter IV: Pauvre Pierrot (Poor Pierrot) - Home

Ion Martea | Essential Films - Essential Films Series | www.essential-films.co.uk | English

Pauvre Pierrot (Poor Pierrot)
| Émile Reynaud
| French Republic
| 1892
During a quiet night, Harlequin jumps the fence to enter Columbine’s garden. This first sequence of rudimentary images is the earliest proof of an animated moving picture. The director was the celebrated French inventor Charles-Émile Reynaud, the man that gave the world the first animated public projection, the same man that was to die in utter obscurity over a quarter of a decade after that. The Théâtre Optique, perfected on the basis of the Praxinoscope Theatre in 1888, allowed Reynaud to showcase full stories, each drawn on over 500 glass plates. Supported by live music, in 1892 a new form of entertainment was established – going to the movies.
From the original shows in the 1890s, it took animated film another fifty years before it gained full public support, and quite a few more before it tackled adult themes. In the wake of technological transformation in the late 19th century, Reynaud’s work could be seen as off-track. The display of moving live action images was regarded as the ultimate pinnacle to reach. While Le Prince, Friesse-Greene, Dickson and others already had managed to capture successful sequences of moving photographs, Reynaud was still playing with painted images. Through the prism of time, his work appears to be almost pointless. At first sight, he did not bring anything new to film. The concept that to create motion one requires a plethora of multiple images moved in rapid succession existed for centuries. Creating a machine that would be capable to move those images so that the eye interprets the result as a single image in motion predates even the early works from Muybridge. So, why is Reynaud’s work still worth a place in the cinematic canon?
The answer to the question above does not reside with the method of production, but rather its content. Poor Pierrot, the only film preserved to this day from the three originally showcased at the Musée Grévin in Paris in 1892, is a work that contains all of the key characteristics of modern film-making. The most important of these is the plot. Here, Reynaud relied on the traditions of pantomime to create a show. The story is quite simple: Harlequin visits Columbine during the night, but what might seem for them to be a night of adventure and fun is interrupted by Pierrot. As the romantic lover walks in, he spoils the girl with flowers and gallantry. It is quite clear, though, that as far as she is concerned he is an ultimate bore, and so she departs leaving Pierrot heartbroken in the moonlight. In the second act, we meet him again, but this time he is drunk and passionate. As he serenades, he feels a tap on his shoulder. As he looks back, there’s nothing behind him. Then there’s another one, and still Pierrot is unaware of Harlequin’s company. Needless to say, the plot works in the best traditions of pantomime, and Harlequin’s victory is rewarded in the end, for he is the one to enter Columbine’s home, while Pierrot is losing his wits in the middle of a night.
Reynaud’s choice of subject matter displays a high degree of commercial maturity. During nearly a decade of playing at Musée Grévin, he had entertained about half a million spectators with his “absolutely unprecedented show”[1] at a salary of “500 francs a month and 10 percent of the revenue generated by the fifty centimes’ additional admission charge for the show”[2]. They key to this success was the uniqueness of the show. As Jonathan Crary concludes, “contemporary audiences […] did not regard Reynaud’s handmade cartoonlike shorts as an inadequate or incomplete from of cinema but as attractions in their own right with their own particular pleasures”[3]. The brilliance of judgment on Reynaud’s part is how he brought a new product to the market to a public that was already used to pay for a pantomime performance.
The importance of films such Poor Pierrot in the cinematic canon comes primarily from the fact that they shatter the long held assumption that cinematic audiences emerged as a well-defined cohort primarily based on a technically curious public. Whereas, in part, Reynaud’s work attracted a similar public as well, the key difference is that it also called to a group that was hungry for art as entertainment. But it is important to note that this is a slightly different audience to the one that attended vaudeville acts, a slice of the public that in the end were central to the success of moving images in the United States in the late 19th century. The consumer of ‘art as entertainment’ here is closer to the public that would be attending full theatrical performances. Though far inferior in grandeur, Reynaud was competing technically against works such as Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. The key battle the early days cinematic auteurs had was to convince the public that film as a medium was as capable of creating an artistic experience as powerful as any theatrical performance. Reynaud’s work stands solid as one of the first works to achieve this, long before any similar attempts. The use of music and partial dialog (through song) only but add to the film’s unique role in the history of cinema.
In an essay exploring the relationship between cinema and photography, Tom Gunning claims that “for Bazin the painted colors and entirely nonindexical animated drawings of Émile Reynaud’s Pantomimes Lumineuses may be more essential to the history of cinema than the abstracted motion studies of Marey”[4]. The conclusion is testament to the fact that Poor Pierrot achieves what cinema is always in search of: a reproduction of the living experience. From the very start, contemporary reviews believed that Reynaud’s work was capable of giving a “complete illusion of life”[5]. Predating a true understanding of how the body acts in motion, these images still manage to ignite the human imagination into transforming dreams into reality. By the end of the feature we forget the technical world of film-making and only remember a good story that made us laugh.
[1]Courrier des théâtres; p. 4. Paris: Le Figaro no. 303, 29 October, 1892.
[2] Schwartz, Vanessa R.. Spectacular Realities: Early Mass Culture in Fin-de-siècle Paris; p. 181. Berkeley - Los Angeles - London: University California Press, 1998.
[3] Crary, Jonathan. Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture; p. 266. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2001.
[4] Gunning, Tom. What's the Point of an Index? Or, Faking Photographs. In Beckman,Karen and Ma, Jean (eds.). Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography; p. 37. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2008.
[5]Courrier des théâtres; p. 4. Paris: Le Figaro no. 303, 29 October, 1892.
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Pauvre Pierrot (Poor Pierrot | 1892) - Home

Ion Martea | Essential Films | www.essential-films.co.uk | English

Émile Reynaud |
French Republic |
1892
The history of motion pictures is not all about moving photographs. Before Muybridge and Le Prince, there were numerous experiments in reproducing movement that primarily involved painted images. Given the popularity of magic lantern shows and the plethora of early inventions – such as John Herschel’s thaumatrope, the phenakistoscope disk images developed by Joseph Plateau and Simon von Stampfer, and especially William George Horner’s zoetrope – it is not surprising that in 1892 it was an animation projection that became the first cinematic public experience. With his Théâtre Optique (based on his own praxinoscope), Émile Reynaud finally brought to the world a new form of entertainment – a collective screening of a motion pictures event.
Poor Pierrot is the only film surviving to this day from the total of three publicly displayed on 28th of October 1892 at the Musée Grévin in Paris. Each at around 15 minutes long, the other two works were Un bon bock (A Good Beer | 1892), made from 700 images painted in 1888, and Le clown et ses chiens (The Clown and His Dogs | 1892), consisting of 300 images from 1890. Courtesy of the unorthodox restoration work by Julien Pappé, we can now view the 500 images of Poor Pierrot, painted by Émile Reynaud in 1891. Unlike the presentation given by Auguste and Louis Lumière at Salon Indien du Grand Café three years later, Reynaud understood that cinema, to qualify as a true form of entertainment, required sound. The original score by Gaston Paulin made the screening that day resemble the cinematic experience throughout most of the silent period.
Since Walt Disney, we got slowly accustomed to the idea that animation is primarily targeted to a young audience. But, this is definitely a modern construct. Poor Pierrot, strongly influenced by commedia dell'arte, is fun, naughty and definitely not an educational piece. Pierrot, the central character, essentially gets cuckold by Harlequin in his contest for Columbine. When she ignores him, he serenades, then gets drunk and is finally chased away by his rival, who we can all see is always just BEHIND him. When Harlequin finally enters Columbine’s house, we all know that Victorian prudishness will be the last thing on their mind. With that exit from shot, “cinema laid its foundations on the ruins of pantomime”[1].
The animation in Poor Pierrot is not the most ingenious one, but it introduced a few key elements in the craft. Firstly, there is the composite projection, made from one static background image on which the moving characters were over imposed. “It would be decades before any other animator would separate the figure and ground for animated motion pictures”[2]. Secondly, it is the use of perforated plates that is of a seminal importance in the history of film. Here, Émile Reynaud revolutionised the practice of projection that was later to be imported by live action film. But, most importantly, on an artistic level, Poor Pierrot is a charming piece. It shows us that animation did not enter the world of cinema with baby steps. Moreover, the entrance was bold and entertaining from the very start.
[1] Lecoq, Jacques. Theatre of Movement and Gesture; edited by David Bradby; p. 35. London – New York: Routledge, 2006.
[2] Neupert, Richard. French Animation History; p. 8. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
Cast & CrewDirector:
Émile ReynaudComposer:
Gaston Paulin
Restoration Producer:
Julien Pappé (1993)
Restoration Editor:
Tamara Pappé (1993)
Restoration Assistant Director:
Claire Lissalde (1993)
Music Arranger:
Sophie Nicolle (1993)
Singer:
Sophie Nicolle (1993)
Programme Unit Manager:
Thierry Garrel (1993)
Restoration Special Effects Company:
L. T. C. (1993)
Restoration Production Company:
Magic Films (1993)
La Sept-Arte (1993)
Restoration Support Company:
Archives du Film du Centre National de la Cinématographie (1993)
Centre International du Cinema d'Animation (1993)
Links:
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Wikipedia
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Release Date: 28 Oct 1892 (France) See more

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