Book Chapter

‘Lumière Agents in Mexico: The “Body” of Film as a Late-Nineteenth-Century Discourse’


Chapter Author
John Fullerton

Indiana University Press


The essay introduces a comparative discussion of the work of Gabriel Veyre in Mexico with the films and photographs he made in French Indochina, and provides the focus of my current research investigations, see Current Research: Gabriel Veyre in French Indochina, 1899-1900.

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The essay compares one of the actuality films shot by Gabriel Veyre for the Société Anonyme des Lumière & ses Fils (Duel au pistolet, 1896) with a photograph taken by the French photographer, François Aubert, who photographed Emperor Maximilian (Maximilano) shortly after his embalment following execution outside Querétaro, Mexico, on 19 June 1867. The concern with death, embalment, and the uncanny formed common elements in the Lumière film and the photograph by Aubert. It is argued that the comparison of the film with the photograph stimulated a response for the historical spectator that anticipated narrative resolution irrespective of the film’s indeterminate ending. As André Bazin has argued, the medium of film added the trace of duration to the photographic image, yet in the case of the film shot by Veyre, that process was shown to be mutable, inaugurating a desire for narrative resolution that exceeded what was represented in the closing moments of the film.

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About the Author

John Fullerton

John Fullerton, a professor in cinema studies at Stockholm University, has written extensively on early cinema, and is editor or co-editor of five volumes of original essays for John Libbey Publishing, including Nordic Explorations: Film Before 19... Read more


Fullerton, J. (2018). ‘Lumière Agents in Mexico: The “Body” of Film as a Late-Nineteenth-Century Discourse’. In: D. Galili, M. L. Dahlquist, J. Olsson and V. Robert, eds., Corporality in Early Cinema: Viscera, Skin and Physical Form, Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, pp. 181-189.