Arts Minister Peter Garrett today announced that the earliest known surviving film made in Australia has been found and restored to the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) in Canberra.
The film Patineur Grotesque (or the Humorous Rollerskater), is believed to have been shot in late October 1896 by Lumiere cinematographer Marius Sestier just days prior to the 1896 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
‘This is a very exciting find and an important piece of our nation’s cinematic history. It features some of the earliest images of Australia caught on film and its discovery is a credit to the determination and skill of the curatorial staff at the NFSA. Patineur Grotesque also helps fill a missing link in global cinematic history, acknowledged as a forerunner to the work of two of cinema’s earliest comedians, Charlie Chaplin and Max Linder,’ Mr Garrett said.
Mr Garrett said today’s screening at the NFSA in Canberra, was the first time the film had been shown in Australia. He said Patineur Grotesque, like the other 10 original Lumiere films held in the NFSA’s collection, were shot on a rare 35mm film format which has been obsolete since the early 1900s.
The film is available for viewing at the NFSA’s Australian Screen website.