Short Film Saturday: A Kiss in the Tunnel (1899)

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.

Short Movie Saturday: The Dreyfus Affair (1899)

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.

Short Film Saturday: Shooting Captured Insurgents (1898)

This is one that requires a bit of an intro. I pasted below the explication offered by Change Before Going Productions, the awesome YouTube channel that hosts a number of early milestones in film online:

Shooting Captured Insurgents is a hyper-realistic re-enactment filmed during the Spanish-American War, and having the purpose of bolstering sympathy for the Cuban rebels (and antagonism towards the Spanish). The United States had previously entered the conflict in early 1898 after the sinking of the USS Maine battleship in Havana harbor left 258 of the ship’s crew dead.

In the film, Spanish freedom fighters are led in front of a Spanish firing squad and then executed. The movie would play with no explanation that the footage shown was not real i.e. staged, leaving the audience to believe they had just witnessed actual deaths.