This Film Is More Than 100 Years Old

Skating In Oulton Broad (1922)

Skating In Oulton Broad is a minute of home-filmed footage of people skating on the frozen lake of the title, in Lowestoft, in 1922.

There is beauty in the badly framed, endless wonder in the out of focus, entire worlds built up through every decade of decay, hiding there in those undignified ruins at the end of every sliver of film.



1. I watched this on the BFI Player.

2. Recently I was reading about the restoration of an old painting at the National Gallery

3. How in their restorations they removed all traces of life and wonder from what they had.

4. And often too I think about the weird hypnotic beauty of the Salvator Mundi

5. Before they scrubbed him clean of any sense of mysticism.

6. And of course no one’s going to try and upgrade these skaters into 4k ultra HD

7. Every blemish digitally erased until everything is as sharp as the eye can see

8. (Although maybe if they were French…)

9. But if they do

10. All we’ll be left with is

11. Nothing much at all.


Film Information

Title: Skating On Oulton Broad
Year: 1922
Duration: 1 minute
Watch: BFI Player

This Christmas Is 100 Years Old

Bataille De Neige (1897) / Boys Playing In Snow (1900)

Let’s watch some 19th century snowball fights for Christmas (as I continue to collude with the erroneous narrative that snow somehow has anything to do with Christmas at all).

The first is Bataille De Neige, directed by Louis Lumiere, and shot in 1897 in France. The second is Boys Playing In Snow, directed by I don’t actually know, and filmed in 1900 in Britain somewhere.

Now, I don’t know if France is a more genteel country than here, but the playful snowball fight in Bataille De Neige seems to lack the absolute vindictive spite of a good old fashioned British snowball fight, as captured perfectly/horrifyingly in Boys Playing In Snow, where one person is mercilessly targeted until they are dead.

And now I’ve remembered how glad I am that I’m not a child anymore, and also that it never ever snows.



1. I watched Bataille De Neige on youtube (many other versions, including pointlessly colourised ones, are available).

2. And I watched Boys Playing In The Snow on the BFI Player.

3. Merry Christmas, I suppose.


Film Information

Title: Bataille De Neige
Director: Louis Lumiere
Runtime: 1 minute
Year: 1897
Watch: youtube

Title: Boys Playing In Snow
Runtime: 1 minute
Year: 1900
Watch: BFI Player