Lights, Action, History

A century ago, France's Lumiere brothers started something big -- the movies

"I mean, can you imagine? In 1896, people of Bombay and Buenos Aires were seeing films of the streets of Paris, of Moscow. It's incredible. And that's what we want to celebrate. Because that's really what filmmaking should be about -- to bring the world to the world."

To give a sense of how the world ultimately responded, Tavernier got approximately 40 modern filmmakers to agree to use a Lumiere camera to make their own films. Accepting the technical and time limitations imposed on Louis Lumiere himself, the filmmakers produced a fascinating series of short films that are included in Lumiere and Company. The anthology will have its Houston premiere at 2 p.m. Saturday at the MFA. Among the directors represented are Spike Lee, David Lynch, John Boorman and Claude Lelouch, the last of whom managed to compress the entire history of cinema into one bold and beguiling 50-second lesson. Lelouch's less-than-a-minute masterpiece is even more proof, as if we needed it, that 100 years on, what still matters most in filmmaking is what the Lumiere brothers unquestionably had: vision.

100 Years Ago: Lumiere! will show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at the Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7531.

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