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The Derby 1895
IMDB Rating: 5.2/10 from 147 votes
Release: /

The Derby 1895

Genre: Documentary, Short, Sport
Director: Birt Acres,
Synopsis: A stationary camera, looking diagonally across a racetrack toward the infield, records the horses as they race past. Once they are out of view and the race is over, police officers run onto the infield. The crowd moves around. Written by <[email protected]>

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Critic Reviews

This short is called 'The Derby', but the horse-racing is of minimal importance here. Rather than adopt a distant, god's eye view, the camera takes its place with the crowd, another observer. Indeed the crowd itself is more interesting than the sport, as we watch a policeman chat with an old hand, and wonder what they're talking about, as well as the thousands of other conversations the deafmute camera cannot overhear.

This sense of actual disparity between camera and audience is literalised when the race ends and the huge crowd swarms the turf, taking over the nominal stage, becoming the observed rather than mere observers, actors at a national event, while the camera stays where it is, hapless, passive.

It would be tempting to see this as a metaphor for the cinema itself, the way its controlling events only goes so far as an audience's interpretation of them; much to the discomfort of some producers and directors, audiences won't just sit there and take whatever's dished out to them, but will make it their own.

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