The First Film Was a Cycling Film

December 28, 1895 is the official birth date of cinema.

On that day, Auguste and Louis Lumière screened the first projected film in the Salon Indien of the Grand Café in Paris. The 3 50-second films show workers leaving a photographic factory.

Nothing remarkable (apart from historical value of the footage).

What caught my eye were some workers with bicycles. That’s right, the first ever cinema screening and we have bikes in it.

Bikes and people. Not cars and people but bikes.

There’s also a dog.

Bruce Bennett, the author of Cycling and Cinema, writes:

In pushing their way past their co-workers and riding out of a photographic factory, the cyclists introduced 19th-century viewers to three-dimensional cinematic space, showing them the new ways of seeing the world offered by the cinema. Cycling is not an incidental element here; rather, the presence of moving bicycles in this film demonstrated the unique formal properties of this revolutionary medium: it is cycling that makes this film a film. In short, the first film is a cycling film.

Let me repeat this again: the first film was a cycling film.

Leave it with you for this thought to sink in.