Colorized Footage of Snowball Fight From 124 Years Ago Wows Internet

Enchanting footage of a snowball fight that took place 124 years ago has resurfaced on social media as temperatures continue to drop and the holiday season approaches.

The video shows a group of adults and children spaced out across two sides of a path throwing snowballs at one another, while a man on a bicycle pedals toward them.

One man crosses the path as the bicycle approaches and snowballs fly all around him. The cyclist approaches, attempting to evade a cascade of snowballs by ducking down over his handlebars.

It proves too much to bear though, with the cyclist eventually ending up falling off his bike before proceeding to roll around in the snow.

Snowballs are seen flying in every direction, as more and more people come into shot, eager to make the most of the idyllic wintry conditions.

The clip was posted to Reddit by Zee_Ventures, where it has amassed more than 34,200 upvotes. An identical video was also shared to Twitter by the account buitengebieden_ and garnered over 377,000 views, 3,000 retweets and 19,000 likes.

Despite being more than a century old, the video’s wholesome fun still managed to resonate with viewers today.

Hefty-Paint-3087 commented: “I’m not in the best place of my life right now but this put a smile on my face and a couple tears in my eye…”

Moldypickedpotatoes agreed: “Dude, same…this gave me so much joy.”

Churchbassist994 wrote: “I know it’s obvious, but it just shows us that life then was just like now, but with less easy and nice stuff.”

FullAtticus added: “I don’t think I’ve ever gone outside in the winter and seen like 20 adults having a snowball fight like this. Life must have been really different before we all put magic glowing boxes into our houses.”

Goods***brain was struck a similarly reflective tone, writing: “Crazy to think what’s to come for Europe in just 40 years after this was shot” in reference to the two World Wars to come, which would wreak havoc in France, where the movie was filmed.

The footage actually comes from a 1897 silent short titled “Bataille de neige” or “Snow Fight,” which was filmed in the city of Lyon.

The film was produced by Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas Lumière and Louis Jean Lumière, better known as the Lumiére brothers, who were pioneers in the manufacture of photographic equipment.

The Lumiéres are noted for inventing the Cinématographe, one of the world’s first motion-picture apparatuses, which operated as both a camera and projector.

They also created what is considered to be the world’s first motion picture, the 1895 short film “La Sortie des Ouvriers de l’Usine Lumière,” or “Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory.”

The Lumiére brothers went on to produce a series of black and white shorts depicting everyday life in France as well as several comedy shorts.

“Bataille de neige” first came back into the public consciousness in September 2020 after Joaquim Campa, a Barcelona-based film and photography enthusiast, shared an updated version of the film.

This version differed from the Lumière original in that someone had undertaken the painstaking process of colorizing the footage, while adjusting the speed to give it a more natural look.

Their hard work paid off though, with the resulting video offering a fascinating glimpse of the world more than a century ago.

Though it may have been staged on the most basic level, the footage still shows that while so much has changed about society and humankind, some things remain the same.

Newsweek has contacted Campa for comment.

This isn’t the first time the Lumière Brothers’ work has piqued interest on social media.

Back in October, an incredible colorized update of another of their short films 1900’s, “A Sunday in Paris” was posted to YouTube, where it has been viewed over 719,000 times.

Rare color footage of Los Angeles’ Sunset Boulevard in the 1960s also recently re-emerged online, showing how much the city has changed in the decades since.

Cameraman filming in Lapland for Lumiere Brothers.
Felix Mesguich, one of the first commercial cameramen in Lapland, northern Scandinavia, where he had been sent by the Lumiere Brothers, circa 1895 – a colorized version of another Lumiere Brothers film is proving popular online.
Hulton Archive/Getty

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