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Screening the Paris suburbsFrom the silent era to the 1990s$
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Derek Schilling and Philippe Met

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526106858

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526106858.001.0001

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Lumière, Méliès, Pathé and Gaumont: French filmmaking in the suburbs, 1896–1920

Lumière, Méliès, Pathé and Gaumont: French filmmaking in the suburbs, 1896–1920

(p.23) 2 Lumière, Méliès, Pathé and Gaumont: French filmmaking in the suburbs, 1896–1920
Screening the Paris suburbs

Roland-François Lack

Manchester University Press

The siting of early movie studios outside the gates of Paris had direct consequences for the promotion of the suburban landscape as an object of visual interest rich with narrative potential. Addressing the dynamics of ‘creative interaction’ between filmmaker and location, the author examines common industry practices from the turn of the century to 1920 based on an extensive filmography of Pathé and Gaumont shorts and features. Generic street views shot in such suburbs as Vincennes served to depict places that the fiction tagged as Parisian; editing-room sleight-of-hand could make two topographically distant locales appear as contiguous. Viewers were indifferent, however, to precise localisations of the streets, buildings and topographical features projected on screen; what mattered was the development of a rapport between narrative form and mood, character and place, as the comic films of Max Linder and the crime serials of Louis Feuillade make clear.

Keywords:   silent film, early movie studios, location shooting, narrative conventions, topography

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