L’arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat (1896)    2 Stars


L'arrivee d'un train a La Ciotat (1896)

Director: Auguste Lumière, Louis Lumière

Synopsis: A group of people are standing in a straight line along the platform of a railway station, waiting for a train, which is seen coming at some distance.


One of the most famous of films – thanks largely to the myth that early audiences ran screaming from theatres in the mistaken fear that they were about to be mown down by the approaching train – L’arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat still stands as a testimony to the imagination shown by the Lumières when choosing the subjects for their first films. The arrival of the train is shot from an angle so that it appears at one side of the screen and disappears at another – and quite a striking shot it is too. It’s also interesting to see these long-ago people – all now long dead – going about their everyday business completely unaware of the modest place they were destined to hold in cinematic history.

(Reviewed 28th May 2009)