At the Photographer’s

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 1, 2015

Look at these films, proliferating and deepening so quickly, right before our eyes! This is also like the waterer watered. Like the Lumières, a little bit, Guy has to figure out how to arrange and time her action so it ends when the film strip does. This particular conclusion here isn’t all that monumental, but it works.

There are more similarities. The Lumieres’ awkward exterior coverage is replaced here by a more effectively contained, though perhaps less cinematic mis-en-scene. The Lumieres’ (good) single joke is replaced by a nicely calculated sequence of transgressions by the rube who doesn’t know what to do with this new technology. It’s character comedy, in other words, and not just mechanical gag architecture. That means that, photographic setting notwithstanding, this is more theatrical than cinematic, more heritage than innovation. At this point innovation was exactly what film was changing the world with.

No problem there! Good is good, eh? There’s an actual theme to this one, I think. It is probably intentional. If it isn’t, it’s still there. It’s significant. By being willful and self-serving this naïf has ruined his chance at progressing, and preserving himself, by means of this technology. Self-reflexive, or even meta-textual! Maybe it’s cinematic after all. One the other hand, this naïf didn’t let the self-regarding photo-sophisticate put anything over on him. So, Reaction after all.

Or, just a fun film, with a surprising amount of rich resonance.