Anthology Film Archives


October 29 – October 31

This fall, in collaboration with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Anthology presents a series we’ve been dreaming and talking about for many years, a comprehensive retrospective devoted to the visionary, astoundingly inventive early-cinema pioneer Segundo de Chomón (1871-1929). An ultra-prolific innovator whose pioneering camera trickery still perplexes and befuddles, Chomón was widely active throughout the budding film industries in France (where he worked for Pathé), Italy, and his native Spain. Our series at long last brings together a sizable selection of Chomón’s unbelievable work, all of which begs the question: “How did he do that?????”
To the extent that Chomón is acknowledged or discussed at all in the U.S., it is for his genius as a special-effects artist (for his own films and others’) and maker of ‘trick’ films, a talent that has won him, not without reason, a reputation as the “Spanish Méliès”. Little discussed in film history or academic circles, Segundo is every bit the equal of the much-better-known Frenchman (creator of such canonized masterpieces as A TRIP TO THE MOON), and his extensive body of work is more diverse. Until now it has been difficult to see any representative survey of Chomón’s hundreds of films, many of which have been lost over the decades.
It’s finally time for film audiences to embrace Segundo de Chomón alongside Méliès and others in the pantheon of early-cinema greats. This extensive retrospective, which follows a single program at the New York Film Festival on Sunday, October 10 (at the Walter Reade Theater), gives viewers a chance to delight in more than 80 films, both works directed by Segundo himself and those to which he contributed special effects. The wondrous shorts on display will undoubtedly demonstrate the brilliance and astonishing range of Chomón’s ridiculously ingenious body of work.

All prints in this series are 35mm, and were generously loaned by the Filmoteca de Catalunya (from the Institut Català de les Indústries Culturals in the Departament de Cultura i Mitjans de Comunicació of Generalitat de Catalunya), as well as by the Museum of Modern Art, and the British Film Institute. The retrospective has been made possible by the support of the Cultural Department of the Consulate General of Spain.
Very special thanks to Iñigo Ramirez de Haro & Ana Escudero (Cultural Department of the Consulate General of Spain), Esteve Riambau, Mariona Bruzzo & Sofia Garcia Martos (Filmoteca de Catalunya), Richard Peña (Film Society of Lincoln Center), Fleur Buckley (BFI), and Anne Morra & Mary Keene (MoMA).

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