The cinema as a time machine

The archives of institutions such as the Dutch Eye and the British Film Institute are treasure chambers where antique jewellery is waiting to be dusted and polished.

This has now happened to part of their collection of 68mm films, made around 1900 by the Mutoscope and Biograph Company of film pioneer William Kennedy Dickson.

They are human miniatures, often lasting no longer than a minute. They breathe the magic of film, the wonder of being able to capture and reproduce moving scenes. Meanwhile, everyday life, but more than 120 years ago, passes by the viewer.

Swimmers in Scheveningen are having a great time, the Haarlem flower parade is in the shape of a beautifully decorated carriage parade, windmills along the Zaan show a forest of rotating sails. A dog pulls a cart over a wobbly bridge, an excited crowd flows out of Carrรฉ after a film screening by the Biograph Company.

Some fifty digitally restored films show not only the Netherlands of the time, but also life and work elsewhere in Europe. In addition to a kind of moving postcards of famous cities and the signs of a new era on the threshold of the 20th century. Good for a stunning time travel in black and white.

โœญโœญโœญ (4 out of 5)