Firts, what is a Lumière film ? The Manifesto of the Lumière’s Filmakers states that:
« life should be filmed as it happens on its own premise without any additional intervention. Only by opening the self to our surroundings can we be at the right place at the right time. We do not believe in artificially assembled scenes or scripted action. »
Thus our constraints were the following :
60 seconds max
When I first read it, I sincerely thought this was the most boring idea filmmakers could have had. And well, we had to make a movie like this. I was in despair about not being allowed to add any scenario. But then, I remembered the words of André Gide, who said : L‘art naît de contraintes, vit de luttes et meurt de liberté (Art is born from constraint, lives through struggle and dies through liberty). And indeed, when making such a movie, you must choose very carefully your subject matter, place, composition, slice of time – in order to get an interesting result in the end.
Once we found our subject matter (Dupont Circle’s escalators), we knew it was a good one. And we pretty much stuck to it – just changing the original orientation of the camera for practical reasons. Indeed, at first we had planned to film the escalators from the side, but once we were on site we realized this was impossible – (or unlawful, or perilous) call it whatever you want). We were quite in a rush, and we took few shots. In hindsight, I just wish I would have had more time to try other angles and compositions. But overall I am very happy with the result. Showing the movie to the audience was a great moment, as the class laughed each time someone would catch a glimpse of the camera and make a funny face. I did not expected this reaction at all. But we wanted our movie to have something fun about it, and I was both surprised and pleased to see that we got our point.