Celebrating Marius Sestier

BY SALLY JACKSON

Today, the release of Patineur Grotesque and the visit of Marius Sestier’s descendants, Mons. Robert Sestier and his sister, Mme Marie-Dominique Petitbois was celebrated with an event in the NFSA’s Arc cinema.

NFSA Chair Mr Chris Puplick opened proceedings in front of an invited audience, with special guests including descendants of those Sestier worked with in India and in Australia, as well as colleagues from Australia and France who have helped in the research project.

Mons Pierre Labbe, the Cultural Attaché, French Embassy then spoke of the close ties between Australia and France particulary in the area of cinema. The Hon. Peter Garrett AM MP spoke about the work of the NFSA and welcomed Mons. Sestier and Mme Petitbois to the stage.

They told of their surprise at the significance their great grandfather holds for Australia and that they will never forget this time spent in Australia. Mr Garrett then announced the discovery of Patineur Grotesque.

An ‘illustrated lecture’ shown in tribute to the work and life of Sestier preceeded the film’s screening. It included a biography of Marius Sestier and was presented with live narration by NFSA presenter Stephen Barker with musical accompaniment by John Shortis.

This was followed by a selection of the frères Lumière films screened by Marius Sestier between 1896 and 1897 in Australia together with the seven remaining films of the 1896 Melbourne Cup Carnival. The event concluded with the first Australian screening of Patineur Grotesque.

At the close of the event: from l to r: Messrs. Phillippe Milloux from Alliance Francaise, Robert Sestier, Pierre Labbe from the French Embassy, NFSA Chair Mr Chris Puplick, Hon. Peter Garrett MP next to Mme Marie-Dominique Petitbois.

Photo: Irene Dowdy

After the event in the NFSA courtyard: Monsieur Sestier and his sister Madame Petitbois show NFSA Chair Mr Chris Puplick some of items from the Marius Sestier Collection.

Photo: Irene Dowdy