News ID: 220010
Published: 0223 GMT August 17, 2018

World's first film poster set to go up for auction at Sotheby's

World's first film poster set to go up for auction at Sotheby's

A poster promoting the first public screenings of film, providing glimpses of late 19th-century Paris life, is coming up for auction.

Sotheby's in London is selling 164 rare film posters including one that can lay claim to be the world's first, one advertising the world-changing cinematography of the Lumière brothers, reported.

The poster shows a throng of people going in to the first-ever public screening of a film, on December 28, 1895.

It is a momentous event in cinema history, marking the beginning of one of the most significant cultural developments of the 20th century. At the time it attracted fewer than 30 people to a room where 100 chairs had been laid out. Newspapers had been invited but chose not to attend.

The historic 20-minute screening was in the Salon Indien, in the basement of the Grand Café on the Boulevard des Capucines. A white canvas was hung at one end of the room and a selection of Lumière short films was screened showing scenes that included workers leaving the Lumière factory, an infant 'fishing' for goldfish in a glass bowl and a man doing a forward roll over a blanket held by four of his mates.

There was also a short film called 'L'Arroseur Arossé' ('Tables Turned on the Gardner'), which is regarded as the first film comedy if not the world's first fiction film. It shows a boy stepping on the hose of a gardener and then, hilariously, taking his foot off when the gardener is peering confusedly at the end of the hose. It takes a darker turn as the gardener chases the boy and administers a spanking.

The audience were said to have greeted the films with a mixture of shock and suspicion. Victor Perrot, who witnessed the event, wrote that one lady shrieked in terror.

Later there was talk of magic and the films being the work of a conjuror. One man complained that it was unfair to make a mockery of the public.

Paris' newspapers soon caught up with the event, featuring it within two days, and on January 1 and 2 more than 2,000 people paid one franc each to see the moving images. Within a few months, Lumière cinemas had opened in major international cities.

Two styles of posters advertising the screenings were produced, including the one for sale at Sotheby's showing a crowd of people waiting to enter the Salon Indien. It was designed by the artist Henri Brispot and is being sold in an online auction opening on August 28 with an estimate of £40,000-£60,000.


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