Optical toys, shadow shows, ‘magic lanterns’ and visual tricks have existed for thousands of years. Many inventors, scientists, and manufacturers have observed the visual phenomenon that a series of individual still pictures set into motion created the illusion of movement — a concept termed persistence of vision.
Film Before Film is an exhilarating and amusing encyclopedic look at the “prehistory” of cinema.
Werner Nekes charts the fascination with moving pictures which led to the birth of film, covering shadow plays, peep shows, flip books, flicks, magic lanterns, lithopanes, panoramic, scrolls, colorful forms of early animation, and numerous other historical artiffices.
Working with these formats, early “producers” created melodramas, comedies, — as well as lots of pornography – anticipating most of the forms known today.
Nekes probes these colorful toys and inventions in a rich and rewarding optical experience.
Film Before Film is a bewildering assault of exotic (and sometimes erotic) images and illusions.