Les locataires d’a-cote (1909)

aka Next Door Neighbors
Article 4741 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-22-2015
Directed by Emile Cohl
Cast unknown
Country: France
What it is: Enjoyable cross of animation and live action

Two couples live next door to each other in an apartment building. When one couple decides to spy on the other by drilling a hole through the wall separating them, the other couple perplexes them by turning into various animated characters.

This short manages to be not only an early example of split-screen technique, but also an early example of mixing live action with animation. It’s a pretty clever idea, and it gives an amusing context to Cohl’s stream-of-consciousness animation technique in that not only are we watching the animation, but we’re watching others watch the animation as well. There’s even some interaction between the two rooms, as the animations do things such as hook up a hose to the drilled hole and shower the residents in the other apartment. I always find Cohl fun to watch, but this one is particularly amusing.

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