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Special Screening: LUMIÈRE! at the 13th FICM

This year marks the 120 anniversary of the birth of cinema and to commemorate this date the 13th FICM presents a tribute to the legacy of the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, with 98 films, made between 1895 and 1905, which show the first characters in the history of cinema: the people.

In a special screening at Cinépolis Morelia Centro, Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, president of Cinépolis and FICM, introduced Thierry Frémaux, general director of the Lumière Institute and general delegate of the Cannes Film Festival, who presented and discussed the program of films restored in 4K resolution, with a duration of 50 seconds each.

Thierry Frémaux.

Thierry Frémaux.

The restoration, which was first presented at the Cannes Film Festival this year, was supervised by the Lumière Institute in Lyon, France, and conducted by the Eclair Group in collaboration with the National Film Center in Paris (CNC), the Cinémathèque Francaise (Paris) and L’Immagine Ritrovata (Bologna), with support from the Fondation d’Entreprise Total within the framework of its association with the Fondation du Patrimoine.

The program is divided into 11 chapters that cover topics such as childhood, various trips around the world, France at work, Paris in 1990, and comedy, among others. The Lumière brothers show the first special effects, approaches to documentary and fiction cinema, the first moving camera, among other technical aspects of cinematography. In the words of Trémeux, they wanted “to offer the world to the world and give testimony to the idea of humanity.”

Thierry Frémaux.

Thierry Frémaux.

In this special screening at FICM, Thierry Frémaux commented:

On the way of presenting silent film:
“Silent films can be viewed in three different ways: the silent-silent cinema, silent film with music and silent film with live commentary.”

On the era when the films were made:
“People believed that the future was good, that it was full of promise, good things, and of course, just after, World War I and the 20th century, which is one of the worst centuries of humanity, began […] but there is a testimony to this idea, joy and the confidence in the future of humanity.”

On the number of films by the Lumière brothers:
“There are officially 1,422 films made by the Lumière company, and we have 1,417 films. The first catalog or material is fully intact because it is not something that belongs to us, it belongs to humanity.”

On the Lumière brothers:
“To forget the Lumière brothers during that past 80 years is like forgetting Victor Hugo in French literature. How can you forget one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema? [Louis] Lumière is the last inventor, but the first director. He is the end of the chain of invention and the beginning of the chain of creation.”

On his next visit to Mexico:
“I have to return to present the 20 films made (by the Lumière brothers) in Mexico because this is the 120 year anniversary of the invention, but the trips of the operators were one year later in 1896, so we have to wait for a year.”

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Those who attended the screening include Maelle Arnaud, in charge of the programming and collection of films at the Lumière Institute and Jean-Paul Rebaud, cultural recovery adviser at the French Embassy in Mexico, as well as Daniela Michel, general director of FICM, and Pierre Risssient, one of the key figures of the Cannes Film Festival for more than 40 years.