Documentary 8min

Couronnement du tsar Nicolas II à Moscou (1896)


Director Charles Moisson
Countries France Russia
Language French
(Short) Couronnement du Czar
20. Century Actuality Film Black and White Cathedral Ceremony Documentary Moscow Orthodox Church People Procession Short Silent Film Tsar Tsar Nicolas II

The coronation of Tsar Nicolas II is the first major news item of international scope to be covered by the Cinématographe Lumière. Charles Moisson, the operator, got permission to circulate freely with his device during the festivities. Together with Charles Moisson was probably Francis Doublier who also filmed some of the views. In the Lumiere online catalog, the event consists of in total 8 views that covered the coronation(although 8 additional are mentioned found in the Russian screening program). The numbers in the Lumiere catalog is from 300 to 307.

Tsar Nicolas II was crowned before a clergy of the Orthodox church who then prayed over him in order to remind him that the extraordinary power with which he is invested must be used for the good and the happiness of his faithful subjects. The coronation ceremony had been set for May 14-26.

The eighteen views that was filmed included the backdrop of the ceremony, namely the streets of Moscow, soldiers, the famous bell, the legendary cannon of Kremlin as well as the parade of staff from the French Embassy and the Mission, leaving Sheremetiew Palace to attend the ceremonies. Also, of course, the processional scenes, the arrival of the imperial family(Empress Mother, Tzar, and the Tzarina) in Moscow, a parade of Cossacks, and the Asian delegations, and in the end, the Tzar with his crown exiting the ceremony.

Films in the series of the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II
Sovereigns and guests going to the coronation (red staircase)
Original title: Les souverains et les invités se rendant au sacre (escalier rouge)
Sovereigns Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna and their retinue slowly descend the Red Staircase, preceded by a company of armored soldiers.
The Empress Mother and Grand Duchess Eugenie in a carriage
Original title: L’Impératrice mère et la grande-duchesse Eugénie en carrosse
Passage of three coaches accompanied by lackeys and soldiers.
Filmed by Francis Doublier
Tsar et Tsarine entrant dans l’église de l’Assomption
Original title: L’Impératrice mère et la grande-duchesse Eugénie en carrosse
As the crowd slowly advances, a company of guards and the Imperial Canopy enter the church.
Filmed by Francis Doublier
Count of Montebello and General de Boisdeffre visiting the Kremlin
Original title: Comte de Montebello et général de Boisdeffre se rendant au Kremlin
The Comte de Montebello descends the stairs and rushes into the car, which starts quickly, then another team takes its place and takes General Le Mouton de Boisdeffre away.
Countess of Montebello
Original title: Comtesse de Montebello
The Countess of Montebello descends the stairs and gets into the car which starts, then a man gets into a second car which also goes away.
Admiral Sallandrouze and General Tournier
Original title: Amiral Sallandrouze et général Tournier
Officers, including Admiral Sallandrouze de Lamornaix and General Tournier, get into a first car, which immediately sets off; another car approaches, and more people board.
Asian deputations
Original title: Députations asiatiques
Under the surveillance of Russian officers, parades the procession of delegations from Asia.
Tverskaya Street
Original title: Rue Tverskaïa (and, "Moscou: Rue Tverskoï pendant les fêtes")
Passers-by and cars in the paved street on the occasion of the coronation of the Tsar.
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Francis Doublier - Cinematography
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Historical event recorded

In and by itself, each clip in this series is not that much of an accomplishment, but together they form a context and a historical event taken place in Moscow, Russia, in 1896. The films were of course shown together, and thus it would have been a longer event where you could see a coronation happen with all the fuss going around it. I find it pretty cool that Lumiere in their early filmmaking took it seriously to travel and document different events and then over a hundred years later give us a snapshot of history.