Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Cinema - In the 18th Century, No Less.

This sounds like a fascinating read: Carmontelle's Landscape Transparencies: Cinema of the Enlightenment, by the historian Laurence Chatel de Brancion, which "... steps back into prerevolutionary France to explore the pastimes created by Louis Carrogis, known as Carmontelle, in his role as resident entertainer at the court of the duke of Orléans.

At the heart of the volume are Carmontelle's experiments with light and moving images: rouleaux transparents, or 'rolled-up transparent drawings,' a precursor to modern cinema. The luminous scenes of verdant parks and splendidly attired people — between 12 and 19 inches deep and up to 138 feet long — were backlighted with natural daylight, wound between spindles and viewed in a boxlike precursor to the television, often accompanied by music or narrated by Carmontelle himself."

Read the rest of the International Herald Tribune story by Kathryn Shattuck here.
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