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Publisher's Summary

This 50-second silent film shows the entry of a train pulled by a steam locomotive into the gare de La Ciotat, the train station of the French coastal town of La Ciotat. Like most of the early Lumière films, L’arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat consists of a single, unedited view illustrating an aspect of everyday life. There is no apparent intentional camera movement, and the film consists of one continuous real-time shot.

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Our Review

This is the short film that sparked a massive urban legend, that may or may not be true. This clip shows a train coming near the camera and off to one side. The myth is that audiences freaked out when they saw this, and ran to the back of the theatre. Whether or not it actually happened, this remains one of the more iconic and important pieces of film history.

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Additional Notes

Source of the urban myth that, when the film was first shown, the audience was so overwhelmed by the moving image of a life-sized train coming directly at them that people screamed and ran to the back fo the room.

 

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