EN ROUTE (1910)
aka The World’s Progress from Stone Age to Airships
Article 3953 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Emile Cohl
What it is: Animated meditation on progress
The development of various modes of transportation are explored.
The English title for this one promises quite a bit for what is in essence a five minute short, but once I realized it was directed by Emile Cohl, I figured it wouldn’t prove to be a hopeless task. It restricts itself largely to the development of transportation, and takes three trips through history – for transportation on land, transportation on water, and transportation in the air. Each trip begins with a caveman speculating on how to advance, which is what gives the movie its science fiction content. Oddly enough, the caveman never invents the wheel, which is what you’d think would be the first act; instead, it deals with his idea of catching and taming horses for transportation. The movie even dabbles in a little social satire, hinting that maybe all this progress isn’t necessarily a good thing. Not bad for a five-minute short.