Return to the cinema, as at the Indian Salon of the Lumière brothers

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If I had the DeLorean built by Doc Brown in Back to the future, I would write on the dial of this time-traveling car the date of December 28, 1895. That evening, in Paris, in the Indian Salon of the Grand Café, the first public session in history was organized. the cinema. After unveiling their cinematograph to a few scientists, in private, Auguste and Louis Lumière screened ten tapes to around thirty spectators. It is often said that in the face of Arrival of a train at La Ciotat station, the audience stepped back, suddenly frightened by this locomotive that seemed to want to leave the screen.

A journalist present, enthusiastic, will write the day after this premiere that finally, “death will cease to be absolute”. Faced with still images suddenly coming to life, these first spectators reacted in a collective manner, as reported by the most famous of them, Georges Méliès: “We were all speechless, stunned.” This is the power of cinema: the emotions we feel in front of a screen can be increased tenfold by the reactions of people sharing the same experience. Hearing a room laugh simultaneously or pulling out their handkerchief together is, for a director, an ultimate reward.