When we think of cinema, it is almost inescapable that we think of big blockbusters - films with huge budgets and special effects that (more often than not) come from the USA. We are conditioned to think like this by the advertising that we are constantly bombarded with and the fact that it is a multi-billion dollar industry means that it is very difficult to compete with. However, the very existence of cinema can actually be attributed to France and early developments in photography and film. 'Daguerreotypes' came first - a kind of etching on metal, followed by simple photography and then the Lumiere brothers burst onto the scene in 1895 with shorts of men leaving factories and babies eating their breakfast. Georges Melies was another crucial contributor. His most famous work - 'Voyages dans la lune' - is the most recognizable, with a train crashing out of the face on a moon.
These early forays into cinema soon snowballed and the movements followed such as Dadaism and Surrealism. French cinema experienced a Golden Age in the inter-war years and the 'nouvelle vague' was groundbreaking but in recent times, American cinema has taken over. This is obviously for various reasons - the fact that they are produced in English is one of the main factors - but it is important to remember that it was the French who created some of the earliest cinema and allowed the medium to develop.