Pioneers and Divas (1895–1918)

Cinema is a 19th century invention. In 1895, the Lumière brothers in Paris and the Skladanowsky brothers in Berlin organized the very first cinematographic events. In the space of twenty years, cinema became a major industry, both economically and culturally. Oskar Messter is considered a great pioneer of German cinema. He was a producer, director and distributor, who also manufactured film projectors and cameras.
Women were the stars of early German cinema. Many of them, like Henny Porten, were German, but Fern Andra was American and Asta Nielsen was Danish. Regardless of their mother tongues, the language of silent films was international. When World War I broke out, cinema was put to military use and exploited for national propaganda.

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