The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat

The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat ★★★½

Cinema’s evolution has brought with it a litany of technological developments. With the Jazz Singer: sound. The Wizard of Oz: color. The Lord of the Rings: motion capture performances. But not since the Lumiere Brothers’ ‘Arrival Of a Train at La Ciotat’ have filmmakers sent physical matter careening through theater screens and into the audience, sending crowds into a hysterical mass as they try to escape the oncoming doom.

It’s unfortunate that the Lumiere Brothers phoned it in on this one (how many times have a pair of filmmakers simply captured everyday “city life” on camera and called a day?), considering it remains the only film to send a full-sized locomotive barreling through the screen and into the audience. Yet, derivative as it may be, this film still has the power to enrapture audiences with its lifelike immersion and terror-inducing finale.


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