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Australia’s oldest film now online

Patineur Grotesque is the oldest known surviving film shot in Australia and, after restoration, a clip has been made available online.

The film is believed to have been shot in October 1896 by Lumiere cinematographer Marius Sestier, in the days prior to the 1896 Melbourne Cup Carnival. It was shown in Australia for the first time today at the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra.It was shot on a 35mm format which has been obsolete for a century, and the NFSA staff built special tools and modified their equipment for preserving and copying the film.

Typical of the films of its time, Patineur Grotesque captures a daily life moment, in this case, a bearded man smoking a cigar rollerskates before a ring of onlookers in a park. While skating, he lifts his jacket to display to the crowd a white hand on the seat of his trousers.

Curator Sally Jackson said the NFSA is hoping a member of the public might be able to identify the location and/or the identity of the man featured in the film.

Patineur Grotesque is available at australianscreenonline.

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