The first obvious change in time during one piece of a motion picture is not an insignificant step at all but a crucial, necessary development in film grammar.
Many consider Uncle Josh to be not just the first protagonist of a film trilogy, but the first character on film period. Enjoy!
Titles at the beginning and end of a film were fairly common by this point. However, this film set a new precedent in the silent film art and added intertitles. They’re not the “best words” but they’re better than nothing.
The first ever tilt was a big one!
The reverse tracking shot is born.
The telescope effect on film precedes the binocular effect. Here it is introduced with a comedic design.
The first POV close-ups in film history. Naturally enough the technique is introduced in a short whose concept centers around this idea.
This is the first film to consciously rack and lose focus for effect, in this instance the introduction of a break in perceived reality. Quite funny!
One of the first examples of shot continuity. Start on train POV, when entering the tunnel cut inside, and then cut to the exit of the tunnel from a objective angle.
This was the first film ever banned (story below from Change Before Going Productions). Also noteworthy is that this is a compiled version of all the shorts, as the films were originally shot in parts.
The Dreyfus Affair (aka L’Affaire Dreyfus) is a multi-film narrative by Georges Méliès regarding the controversial political scandal surrounding Captain Alfred Dreyfus, convicted of Treason in 1894 France. After Emile Zola published his infamous letter, “J’Accuse”, which accused the government of anti-Semitism and unlawful jailing, Dreyfus was eventually re-tried. In 1906, he was exonerated and reinstated as a major in the French Army. This film, produced in the midst of the scandal, would become the 1st censored movie as it was banned in France.