How It Feels to Be Run Over (1900)
Director: Cecil Hepworth
Cast: May Clark, Cecil Hepworth
How It Feels to be Run Over is similar to James Williamson’s The Big Swallow in some respects in that an ‘object’ unexpectedly comes straight at the camera, ostensibly breaking the barrier – fourth wall, if you like – that exists between the audience and the events taking place on screen. It’s a simple idea simply executed. The film is positioned on one side of a country road, and as the film opens we see a horse-drawn carriage pass harmlessly by on the correct side of the road. Moments later it is followed by a motor car which veers over to the wrong side of the road and straight into the camera. It could be that filmmaker Cecil Hepworth (Alice in Wonderland) was making a comment about the speed of new technology and how it was becoming overwhelming – cinema and automobiles were the twin inventions of the late 19th/early 20th centuries – or he might simply have been searching for a subject to amuse his audience. Either way, it’s a reasonable effort.
(Reviewed 10th June 2009)