A bit of history:
Early films were mainly experimental, without a narrative framework. The dancers performed cinematographic experiments that attempted to render body movements in space and time. Dance scenes (here a serpentine dance, known as a Butterfly Dance) represent a third of the films produced.
This film, produced by the Italian company Cinès, presents viewers with one of many imitations of the serpentine dancer Loïe Fuller. The fathers of cinema all made their contribution to this essential genre. Edison and Dickson, as well as Louis Lumière and Paul Nadar propelled the first serpentine dancers to fame: Annabella (1897), Crissie Sheridan (1897), and Ameta (1903).
(Via Submarine Channel.)
These Butterflies twirl around with dazzling effects thanks to the marvelously restored colors. This jewel was marvelously restored. For a long time, the Morcraft company presented this film to collectors of 16mm film. A terrible version issued from a painted print revealed what the film might have been at the time of its first projection.
Color film from the '50s to the '80s is characterized by a great color instability, which turns to pink after a few years. In addition to the scratches, the original colors then look faded, sad, and insipid.
During a visit in Los Angeles, Serge Bromberg accidentally comes across the original nitrate print, which the owner Morcraft had certified having destroyed. Proof of its authenticity is found in the title, Butterflys (an obvious mistake for an Anglophone since the right spelling is of course: Butterflies) that survived on two frames, making it necessary for the restorer to make a freeze-frame, which is the case on the few surviving 16mm prints.
This nitrate print color painted in 1907 still shows the footage marks between the perforations, for, at that time, the colorists are paid by the meter! A true gem.
I'm a writer and blogger.