The Nativity (1910)
Original title: La Nativité
(Original) La Nativité
(Alternative) Herod and the New Born King
(Alternative) Hérode et le roi nouveau-né
CategoriesBased on Paintings Based on the Bible Biblical Drama Birth of Jesus Black and White Christmas Drama Flight to Egypt Herod the Great Jesus Christ Shepherds in the Field Short Silent Film St. Joseph St. Mary The Adoration of Infant Jesus The Nativity The Wise Men DramaShortBased on Paintings, Based on the Bible, Biblical Drama, Birth of Jesus, Black and White, Christmas, Flight to Egypt, Herod the Great, Jesus Christ, Shepherds in the Field, Silent Film, St. Joseph, St. Mary, The Adoration of Infant Jesus, The Nativity, The Wise Men
Louis Feuillade directs this retelling of the birth of Christ. It was produced as part of the series "Le Film esthétique" and the director was given lots of freedom in designing the sets and to make the movie a visual experience. The story itself is much like what we are used to and read in the Bible, in 9 scenes inspired by paintings. It starts with the herdsmen, and them finding the Child, and thus skips the Annunciation and scenes of Joseph and Mary traveling and finding shelter. It ends in Egypt. We can also see an inspiration form the sphinx scene, as it looks like the one we find in "The Life And Passion Of Jesus Christ" from 1898. This scene is also remarkably similar to painter Luc Olivier Merson's painting "Le repos pendant la fuite en Egypte" from 1880 for which the production company, Gaumont, was sued for plagiarizing(which Merson lost).
This movie was originally released with the title "Herod and the Newborn King" in the United States.
The visuals of this short silent movie are very captivating as it is framed perfectly. Where there is empty space, you know it will be filled. There are not many scenes here, but they are used to the fullest. It's amazing how the Nativity scene is composed very typically, almost as a moving painting, with Mary and Joseph, together with baby Jesus, in the corner - in the same posture when the shepherds arrive as when the wise men do. the focus in the movie seems to be the wise men and the visit to King Herod. It's also a noteworthy use of animals. We see sheep, cows, donkeys and even camels used.