Did you know that the short film, “The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station” was presented in 1896? The 50-second film, is often shown as one of the first examples of motion film. It features the arrival of a steam train at the La Ciotat station. Even though cinematography was a very new art form, the Lumière brothers carefully thought about where to put their camera to get the greatest effect. The train starts from a distant point and grows in relative size as it approaches the platform. A common legend about the film tells how some viewers thought the train was real, panicked and scrambled to get out of the way.
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The title of this short film also appears as “L’arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat”, “The Arrival of the Mail Train”, and “Lumière No. 653”.
Like many other films from the Lumière brothers, this film features scenes from everyday life. This genre is known as ‘actuality’. Unlike a documentary, it shows an unbroken scene and is not recut or used to help tell a larger story.