Alice Guy-Blanché frames the making of a “phonoscène” (a forerunner to sound film) as a kind of Russian nesting doll, with a well-lit scene taking place within the darkened activity of its mechanical reproduction. The camera stays in the shadows, slowly panning as the crew readies itself to film a courtly dance against a flat backdrop that loses all verisimilitude from Guy-Blanché’s angle. Interestingly, women operate the phonograph while men duck under the camera’s dark cloth. Anticipating structuralist and verité tactics, Guy-Blanché’s lucid short is an early instance of someone pulling back the curtain on cinema.
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Extremely rare behind-the-scenes footage of early innovations in motion pictures. Thanks to Fandor and others for highlighting the often ignored contributions of Alice Guy to early film development.
Maybe I'm missing something, but -- I don't get it.