PARIS, December 29 – On December 28, 1895, exactly 125 years ago, the Lumière brothers organized the first public screening of a film at the Grand Café in Paris.
On this day in 1895, in the Indian Salon of the Grand Café de Paris, near the Paris Opera, the Cinematograph Lumière with crank, invented by the Lumière brothers, Louis and Auguste, played in front of an audience the very first moving images. .
The screening program included ten short films. The best known is “Workers leaving the Lumière factory”. All the films had been shot by the Lumière brothers and did not last more than 40 seconds.
The new technology was an instant hit
In the book “Histoire du cinématographe de ses origines à nos jours,” published in 1925, Georges Michel-Coissac relates this event with several anecdotes from by the son of the event’s organizer, Clément Maurice.
Maurice was a portrait photographer who had worked in the Lumière factory in Lyon, then worked in the Paris studio of the father of the Lumière brothers, Antoine Lumière.
Antoine Lumière and Clément Maurice have agreed to organize the screenings between Christmas and New Year. They put two posters on the door of the Grand Café, sent out invitations and decided to charge one franc (around five euros today) per presentation.
Michel-Coissac explains that at the time, Mr. Volpini, owner of the Grand Café, rented his basement to them for a year, refusing to accept the 20% of the product because he had so little confidence in the success of the company.
But the Cinematograph screening was so successful that three weeks after the premiere, between 2,000 and 2,500 tickets were sold every day, all without any newspaper advertising.
The room could only accommodate 120 people at a time; a crowd gathered in front of the cafe to attend one of the screenings, each of which lasted about twenty minutes. Some spectators even returned with acquaintances they had met on the boulevard. – AFP-Relaxnews