A (short) Film Rumination: La Charcuterie Méchanique (The Mechanical Butcher), Auguste and Louis Lumière (1895)

The brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière were two of the earliest and most influential film directors. La Charcuterie Méchanique (1895), considered one of the earliest “sc-fi” films of all time, predicts the mechanical butcher.  A rather simple machine “transforms” a pig into all its component food parts (sausages, pork chops, bacon, etc).  According to the various science fiction encyclopedias I’ve consulted, La Charcuterie Méchanique inspired many imitations by English and American directors.

This is a fascinating (extremely simplistic) piece of cinematic history.  And I find that it is kind of fitting that the mechanical production line was the subject of such an early sci-fi film because it certainly became one of the main themes of later works — although the Lumière brothers’ vision is delightfully innocent and optimistic.

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