Say animation, and you think of Walt Disney, isn’t it? But before him there were various names that have contributed to the art of animation. One such individual was Émile Cohl.
The Paris-born, Émile Eugene Jean Louis Courtet (Émile Cohl) was influenced by two things: first, Guignol, a puppet theater and the other were political caricature. Cohl was a French caricaturist (a caricature is an image showing the features of its subject in a simplified or exaggerated way). Cohl started his career as an apprentice to a jeweller. Later, he pursued a career as a cartoonist and animator.
In his span of career, Cohl became an important part of the long forgotten Incoherent Movement. Through Andre Gill (his, then wife) he was drawn into Hydropathes Movement. After his marriage collapsed he joined Pick Me Up, a humor magazine. However, until the motion picture era, Cohl led a sort of Bohemian lifestyle.
It was then, at the age of fifty when Cohl entered the world of cinema. He joined Gaumont Film Company as a writer, but cartoons were his specialty. He went on to make ‘Fantasmagorie’, that is considered the first fully animated film ever made. The movie was made from 700 drawings, each of which were double-exposed, leading to a running time of almost two minutes. It was devised in a stream of consciousness style and borrowed Blackton’s style in using a ‘chalk-line effect’. Cohl made the movie as a tribute to the forgotten ‘Incoherent Movement’.
Overall, Cohl made more than 200 movies in his lifetime. Movies like A Fantasy and Affairs of Hearts are just to name a few. He gave animation the push it needed to move forward and his pioneering work has impacted the art of animation till date.