"Die Gebrüder Skladanowsky" or "A Trick of the Light" is a German(-language) film from 1995, so this one had its 20th anniversary last year. The director is Wim Wenders and he is also one of the many writers who worked on this project. The focus here is on the Skladanowsky brothers. Most people with a big interest in the early days of filmmaking, the very early days of movies that ran for under a minute, were silent and in black-and-white and were made at the end of the 19th century over 120 years ago, may have come across Méliès and Lumière, maybe even Segundo de Chomón. But hardly anybody remembers the Skladanowsky brothers Max and Emil. It is very telling that for one of them not even the date of death is known. They certainly weren't as prolific as the ones I already mentioned and their technological approach also wasn't that refined, but they were there with the rest of really early filmmakers and that counts.
If you want to see their most known work, check out "Wintergartenprogramm". It combines their most known very short films in one still fairly short film. But back to this Wim Wenders work here. I must say it is a really creative outcome overall and there were moments when I was tempted to give it an even higher rating. The re-enacted old scenes (with Udo Kier and Otto Kuhnle playing the title characters and Rolf Zacher narrating) were as interesting as the interview scenes with one of the brothers' daughter who gives first-hand information about the Skladanowskys. She was also over 90 already when this was made. The film is pretty short, the credits roll in at the 1-hour mark already, but another 15 minutes follow. Overall, this film is another really creative achievement by Wim Wenders that most filmmakers can only dream of making. It is a solid tribute to a time long gone and a pair of filmmakers long forgotten and if it brings back some attention to them, then making this movie was worth it alone for that reason. I also think it is pretty easily accessible. I myself have no interest in physical technology when it comes to filmmaking, but Wenders kept it all very basic in terms of that. Now you have read enough and it is time to watch the film if you haven't already. You really don't want to miss out here.
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