Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Louis Le Prince's groundbreaking experiment in premodern surrealism is as fresh today as it was when he filmed it on 14th October 1888.

Despite having so few contemporary influences to inspire him, Prince's avante-guard style treated us to a stream-of-consciousness that dared to challenge, and change, the entire English-speaking world, and posed more questions than its ambiguous ending dared offer a pat answer.

Today, many of its conceits may appear outdated – it's shot in a single take, is black-and-white throughout, and dispenses with a soundtrack entirely – yet as far as I know, Prince was the very first person to champion these minimalist approaches.

It's hard to think of a single film that has not in some way been influenced by this work, and yet this is a two-second short that in its day was never even given a theatrical release.

Often parodied, rarely acknowledged, but always emulated. Yet the greatest achievement of Prince's first true film must surely be this:

Every single moving film since 1888 - Metropolis, Star Wars, even prints of Madagascar 2 - has on some level been a remake of Roundhay Garden Scene.


For part two of The Films Of Louis Le Prince, ("Leeds Bridge") click here.
For part three of The Films Of Louis Le Prince, ("Accordion Player") click here.
For part four of The Films Of Louis Le Prince, ("Man Walking Around A Corner") click here.

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