Baignade en mer (1895)
Director: Louis Lumière
Synopsis: Several little boys run along a pier, then jump into the ocean.
Lasting just 50 seconds, this 1895 actuality from the Lumiere Brothers captures a quartet of bathers — three boys and a woman — running along a narrow pier and jumping into the sea. Once in the water — which is actually quite choppy, it must have been a fairly unsettled day — they wade back to the shore and climb back onto the pier for another go. It all looks like a lot of effort for precious little rewards to me, but there you go — they didn’t have Xboxes or Facebook in those days…
It might just be a fortunate accident, but the cameraman — quite possibly Louis Lumiere himself — situated the camera in such a position that the pier juts out from the right of the screen, forming quite a dramatic angle to the unruly sea. Other than this unusually effective composition, however, there’s little to distinguish Baignade en mer from other films of its day. It does capture some of the boys’ lively spirits, but the impression is diminished by the distance between the camera and its subjects. An interesting curio, then, but nothing more.
(Reviewed 24th July 2014)