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Lumière Brothers predicted cinema as an ‘invention without any future’: What these early Film Makers thought of cinema


In the late 1800s, the Lumière brothers [Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas Lumière (19 October 1862 – 10 April 1954) and Louis Jean Lumière (5 October 1864 – 6 June 1948)] were considered to be the fathers of modern cinema. But despite their early success, they actually saw very little future for the medium. In this article, we’ll explore why the Lumière brothers thought cinema was nothing more than a passing fad.

The Lumière brothers and their contribution to cinema

The Lumière brothers were among the first filmmakers in history, and their contributions to the artform are still felt today. Though they saw cinema as “an invention without any future”, their work laid the groundwork for the development of modern film.

The Lumière brothers began experimenting with film in the 1890s, and their short films were some of the first ever shown to a public audience. They popularized many of the techniques still used in filmmaking today, such as editing and special effects.

The Lumière brothers’ films had a major impact on early cinema, and their work is still revered by filmmakers today. Their legacy continues to shape the artform in new and exciting ways.

Why the Lumière brothers thought cinema had no future

The Lumière brothers are considered fathers of modern cinema, but they actually thought the medium had no future. In an 1895 interview, they said: “We have seen and studied all the techniques that exist in this new industry. We have visited all the research laboratories working on perfecting this new invention. And we have come to the conclusion that cinema is an invention without any future.”

The brothers were primarily interested in using the new medium of film for documenting actuality footage and didn’t think it had any narrative potential. This was a common view at the time – many people thought cinema was little more than a glorified version of photography. They could not capitalize the narrative structures and storytelling technique through films. Their films were just documentaries or real footage which had no plot or story in it.

It’s fascinating to think about how different cinema would be if the Lumière brothers had been right about its future. But fortunately for us, they were wrong – and cinema went on to become one of the most popular art forms in the world.

The legacy of the Lumière brothers

The Lumière brothers are considered fathers of modern cinema. They invented the Cinematographe, a camera that could capture images and project them onto a screen. The brothers saw cinema as “an invention without any future”, but their legacy continues to influence filmmakers today. The Lumière brothers were passionate about the potential of cinema as an art form. They believed that it had the power to educate and entertain audiences.

Despite their misgivings about the future of cinema, the Lumière brothers continued to experiment with the medium. They made over 1,000 films, including some of the first documentaries. Their work influenced other filmmakers, including Sergei Eisenstein and Orson Welles.

The Lumière brothers may have seen cinema as “an invention without any future”, but their legacy continues to inspire filmmakers today.


Today, cinema is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the world and it has come a long way since its early days. While the Lumière brothers may have seen it as an invention without a future, we can see now that they were wrong and that cinema has a bright future ahead of it. But film as an invention, art,technology and business is still evolving and it will continue.

Cinema as an art form, began to evolve when film editing was discovered. Prior to this invention films tended to be just a sequence of unconnected shots. In 1907 Georges Méliès was doing the first examples of how editing could be used, with simple double exposure sequences.

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