The World’s First Cartoon: Fantasmagorie

A R T L▼R K

Desktop22On the 17th of August 1908, Fantasmagorie, the first fully animated feature film was released in Paris by the Gaumont company. Created by Emile Cohl, Fantasmagorie is considered one of the masterpieces of animated cinema and of early cinema as a whole. Done in a white-on-black style, reminiscent of a film negative, the film broke with the realist tradition emerging in live action at the time. It was much more stylized and fantastic, in some ways anticipating the surrealist movement of later decades. Fantasmagorie is a brief line animation in which a mysterious puppet, Pierrot or fantoche, and his environment change seamlessly. Flowers become bottles become a cannon; an elephant becomes a house; Pierrot becomes a bubble, a hat, a valise.” (Chris Gehman, Steve Reinke, The Sharpest Point: Animation at the End of Cinema). There is no distinctive narrative to the successive images. Therefore, it…

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