Eye Filmmuseum and the British Film Institute present a compilation film of newly-restored rare images from the first years of filmmaking. Immerse yourself in enchanting images of Venice, Berlin, Amsterdam and London from 120 years ago. Let yourself be carried away in the mesmerizing events and celebrities of the time, and feel the enthusiasm of early cinema that overcame the challenge of capturing life-like movement.
The Mutoscope and Biograph Company was founded by film pioneer and inventor William Kennedy-Laurie Dickson, who had worked with Thomas Edison since the 1880s. After leaving Edison, Dickson and partners filmed remarkable events across Europe.
These films are all photographed with the unique large-format 68mm Mutograph camera, which provided extraordinarily high resolution images. These one-minute time capsules from 120 years ago still convey some of the richest and sharpest images that film can achieve.
The films reflect the essence of early cinema: capturing the first ever moving images of important events, famous locations and personalities, as well as spectacular moments such as dance and sports performances, or even natural phenomena like fire or storm, that only work when seen in motion.
The Collection and Restoration
The Mutoscope and Biograph Collection is the oldest film collection held at Eye Filmmuseum. It includes over 200 films, most of which made in Europe between 1897 and 1902. This constitutes the largest existing collection of Mutoscope and Biograph films surviving in the world.
The films are shot on nitrate film stock with a short-lived technology which was, at the time, innovative and groundbreaking: an exceptionally large-format film (approx. 68mm wide, without perforation) with an extremely high resolution providing extraordinary richness of details.
Because the films are a non-standard size, they have been largely unseen. Given their obsolete format digital restoration with custom-made equipment at a resolution of around 8K is the best way to make them accessible again, using today’s technology. After digitization, image restoration is done to reproduce as closely as possible the characteristics of the original film.