French silent film  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
French cinema

In the late 19th century, during the early years of cinema, France produced several important pioneers. Auguste and Louis Lumière invented the cinématographe and their screening of L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de la Ciotat in Paris in 1895 is marked by many historians as the official birth of cinema. During the next few years, filmmakers all over the world started experimenting with this new medium, and France's Georges Méliès was influential. He invented many of the techniques now common in the cinematic language, and made the first ever science fiction film A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune, 1902).

Other early individuals and organizations of this period included Gaumont Pictures and Pathé Frères. Alice Guy Blaché was one of the first pioneers in cinema. She made her first film in 1896, La Fée aux Choux, and was head of production at Gaumont 1897-1906, where she made in total about 400 films. Her career continued in the United States. Several pioneers such as Maurice Tourneur or Léonce Perret continued their career in United States after World War I.

During the period between World War I and World War II, Jacques Feyder became one of the founders of poetic realism in French cinema. He was also a dominating character within French Impressionist Cinema as well as Abel Gance, Germaine Dulac and Jean Epstein, see Cinéma Pur.

After World War I, the french film industry was weak, because of missing assets. As every european war leading country, France suffered of a strong financial lack, which was very hard for the film industry to find investors. So the french film production decreased as well as the production of the most other european countries too. This was the chance for the US film industry to enter the european cinema market with their own production, which could be sold cheaper than the european productions, because the studios had already recouped their investments in the home market. So, even more film studios in Europe, and also in France, crashed, which was the impulse for many european countries to install barriers to import. In view of the quota-rules of neighbour states such as Great Britain or Germany, France installed a import quota of 1:7, which means, that for every seven foreign films imported to France, one french film has to be produced and shown in french cinemas.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "French silent film" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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