The Perpetual French Discovery of Australian Cinema
2. In the Beginning 25
25 2. In the Beginning The Australian Cinema Industry from the Cinématographe to the Revival It is indeed noteworthy, in the context of this analysis, that the history of Australian cinema began with the arrival in Australia of a Frenchman. In 1896, Marius Sestier, a friend of Auguste Lumière, first presented the Lumière brothers’ dramatic new technological marvel, the cinématographe, in Sydney on 26 Sep- tember 1896, and then in Melbourne on 4 November the same year.1 Regardless of the debate surrounding the origins of the technology of cinema, given that there is general consensus that the invention of the cinématographe occurred around mid-1895, the rapidity of its export to Australia was remarkable. Equally rapid was the deployment of the new technology in Australia. Film production began immediately after the arrival of the cinématographe in 1896. The first films to be produced con- sisted mainly of short, unedited documentary style footage of events and scenes such as the horse races in Melbourne, the ferry at Manly and the wharves in Brisbane.2 These films were intended to demonstrate the novelty of moving images as a new technology. Right from the beginnings of the fledgling industry in Australia, some of these early films were exported to major cities and countries overseas, including Sestier’s work, which, following the pattern the Lumière brothers imposed on their operators, was shipped back to France for local entertainment. Perhaps the most significant milestone in the early days of Australian cinema...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.