Une excursion incoherente (1909)
Article 5658 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Segundo de Chomon
What it is: Pretty strange
Some people go on a disastrous picnic followed by a visit to a haunted mansion.
This short by Chomon is a very good example of how he had his own vision beyond what he borrowed from Melies. There are four major setpieces in this short – the picnic, the scene at the fireplace, the scene in the bedroom, and the scene outside the mansion. The fireplace scene and the scene outside the mansion are very reminiscent of Melies, but the other two scenes are something else. The grotesque picnic sequence is as surreal as something you’d expect from Luis Bunuel, and there is apparently some speculation as to whether he was influenced by this short. The scene in the bedroom makes some very interesting use of shadow imagery and animation, with the latter element showing a possible influence by Emile Cohl. There’s no real plot to the short; it’s a series of bizarre setpieces, and as is implied by the title, it is incoherent. Nevertheless, it still makes for an interesting viewing experience, and certainly feels different from other shorts of the same era.