Albert Edouard Drains ('Alexandre')

Pioneer of Belgian cinema

The first exhibition of the Lumière Cinématographe outside of France took place on 10 November 1895 at the Ecole Supérieure de l'Industrie, Brussels, organised by Charles Moisson. The first films taken in Belgium were five scenes of Brussels and two of Antwerp taken by Alexandre Promio in May 1897, on his way to Sweden. The first Belgian filmmaker was a Parisian photographer, Albert Drains, known as Alexandre. In the spring of 1897, a film company was formed, Optique Belge, with the plan to film scenes in the Congo for exhibition at the Brussels World Fair. The films were taken but not shown, owing to a failure in developing. However, Alexandre took films of exhibits at the World's Fair, including scenes of a Congo village shipped over to Belgium. Alexandre made several other topicals and local views during 1897. Belgian filmmaking did not develop greatly beyond this point for a number of years, except for the efforts of a number of itinerant fairground showman filming local scenes.

Luke McKernan