L' Histoire d'un crime (1901)

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Ferdinand Zecca introduced crime to the movies and a stark realism to narrative cinema. A formally inventive and exceedingly original film, L'Histoire d'un crime was the first crime film ever. The picture, which runs only eight minutes, opens on a criminal asleep in his cell. His story is told in a series of dream flashbacks. We see him kill a man. He's arrested, goes to trial and is sent to prison. Then he wakes and final piece of the story unfolds as he is lead to his death. It was one of the most successful early films, both in formal and economic terms.