Cabbage Fairy (1896)
I know I’ve mostly been doing Griffith lately, but I stumbled across this little gem from the first nation of cinema while doing research tonight and couldn’t resist throwing it in. It’s listed as the debut work of French filmmaker Alice-Guy Blaché, and apparently was out before Méliès was able to get his first movie, “The Haunted Castle” on the screen. It is a simple tableaux, in which a woman in a flouncy dress moves about a cabbage patch, periodically taking babies out of the cabbages (one wonders if the “Cabbage Patch Kids” were invented here). Typical for the day, the camera is static, there is no editing, and the shot establishes a “stage” on which the action takes place. The filmmaker was a woman, often overlooked in film histories in spite of her long career and many contributions. Some have argued that this should be regarded as the “first fiction film,” and though I think that might be going too far, if she beat Méliès I’d be happy to consider it the first fantasy film. At one minute long it was also one of the longest movies of the day.
Original Title: La Fée aux Choux
Director: Alice Guy Blaché
Run Time: 1 Min
You can watch it for free: here.