The first films made following the invention of cinema in late-nineteenth century France were of highly kinetic events — circuses, street performers and magic shows, which the French called spectacles de curiousité. As directorial techniques advanced, primitive special effects began to transform these documentaries into fictionalized stories. Professor of Film and Media Studies Colin Burnett screens examples of the rapid transformation of early films tonight in the program Spectacles de Curiousité. From the Lumière Brothers' everyday sights, such as a train pulling into a station (Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat), to Georges Méliès' spectacular fantasia, A Trip to the Moon, film progressed dramatically in just seven years. Spectacles de Curiousité starts at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum on the Washington University campus (1 Brookings Drive; www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu). Admission is free. free admission
In this special screening event, Colin Burnett, assistant professor in Film and Media Studies in Arts & Sciences, takes viewers on a journey through the earliest stages of French filmmaking. Drawing on the period’s dynamic phantom rides and exotic travelogues, eye-popping magic tricks, and elegant bodies of dance, this program of early spectacle films puts on display the vast repertoire of alluring attractions filmmakers developed as they transformed the technical wonder of moving images into what would become one of the defining art forms of the 20th and 21st centuries. Reception, 6p Screening, 6:30p freehttp://www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu/events/films/11732
Filmmaker Toni Myers wrote and directed the 2002 IMAX documentary Space Station 3D, which was about the construction of the International Space Station. Fourteen years later she's returned to the space station for her new documentary, A Beautiful Planet. Using footage shot by astronauts and by cameras mounted on the station, Myers' new IMAX film offers a spectacular view of Earth. You'll see a lightning storm popping like camera flashes from under heavy clouds, the unblinking eye of a hurricane and the surreal sight of the aurora borealis from above. You'll also see the continents aglow with electricity in the dark, and the greenish-brownish haze of our atmosphere as the station races around the globe once every 92 minutes. A Beautiful Planet is now showing daily at the OMNIMAX theater at the St. Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; 314-289-4424 or www.slsc.org). Tickets are $9 to $10. $9-$10
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