Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Scenes of daily life in Paris in the 1890s

Old film is a time machine - I think we're agreed on that - but never more so when someone has so lovingly restored a film from the remote past. Color-tinted (which I usually dislike, but which works here as another level of spell-binding), with speed corrected to the frames-per-second discrepancy of early movies, and with convincing sound effects dubbed in, YOU ARE THERE, you are walking these streets, hearing the cloppa-cloppa-cloppa that must have been ubiquitous in those times, smelling the manure which must have been everywhere, speaking rapidly in a French that might not be recognizable today, wearing a heavy, voluminous skirt with layers and layers of petticoats and a constricting corset. . . body-feeling, mind-feeling those times, those left-behind times that were left behind the way we leave behind all times. 

People malign the internet all the time, of course, but look what it unlocks, and in a fraction of a second, right here at home, RIGHT NOW, not having to join some film society somewhere and listen to pretentious people pontificate just to let us all know they know FAR more than we ever will, or even can. I have come to take for granted the click to instant knowledge, and how it has taken over from those endlessly boring, stale plods through the halls of libraries which were already badly out of date. The only boredom left being the comments section.