De Chomón’s Easter Eggs

Les oeufs de Pâques
R: Segundo de Chomón. B: Segundo de Chomón. D: Julienne Mathieu. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1907

De Chomón was born in Spain on October 17, 1871. He married actress Julienne Mathieu, who started working for early film studio Pathé Frères. It’s said that Julienne influenced her husband to join Pathé, where he began working as an agent and then a director. In 1903 he produced Gulliver en el país de los gigantes, the first of what would become his specialty: trick films. He became so good at creating special effects –  in fanciful shorts that he beautifully enhanced with a special stencil-coloring process dubbed Pathéchrome – that Charles Pathé took notice. He recognized that de Chomón’s work could easily compete with that of the famous Georges Méliès, and thus the Spanish director was given the freedom to create the most fantastical visions his mind could devise.
He went above and beyond, utilizing just about every method available back then: puppetry, multiple exposures, hand-drawn animation, matte shots, and more. His work ranges from gorgeous tapestries of féerie romance like Les Tulipes (1907) to something like The Panicky Picnic (1909, which is the dream you’d have if you gorged yourself on lukewarm sushi. Let’s just say that Méliès himself was probably impressed by (or confused by) de Chomón’s fearless surrealism. De Chomón would collaborate with several other early directors, including ‘Father of the Animated Cartoon’ Émile Cohl. He would also run a shop devoted to color stenciling. By 1912 (at a time when Méliès’s work was in the decline) he was invited to make films in Italy. He would gradually move away from directing and concentrate on cinematography, creating special effects for such mighty epics as Cabiria (1914) and Napoléon (1927).
Plans on returning to producing films ended when de Chomón died of a heart attack in 1929. He was 57, and left behind a legacy of well over 200 films.”

Les Tulipes
R: Segundo de Chomón. B: Segundo de Chomón. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1907

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