Incredible: French film from 1947 predicts smartphones and other modern-day technology!

Inspired by an essay by Barjavel, the 70-year-old documentary proposes the evolution of television in transportable pocket format, and the way in which humans will interact with the objects. Today, parallels are drawn between the objects, like smartphones, described in the short documentary.

People using miniature-television devices in public places; professional meetings conducted via picture-phones; cars equipped with television screens; shops promoting their goods on television: these snapshots are taken from the 1947 short film Télévision: Oeil de Demain. Produced and shot by J. K. Raymond-Millet, Télévision.

Oeil de Demain combines documentary and science fiction sequences as it simultaneously offers a depiction of television in postwar France as well as imaginative speculations of the medium’s future developments.

While Raymond-Millet’s work is virtually forgotten today, his film Télévision has been applauded for ‘predicting our present’ and although the small handheld devices used in the film have long retractable antennas that resemble the first cell phones, it shows that ’70 years ago, smartphones already existed. Actually they do mirror today’s smartphones that are in the pockets of nearly every human.

At the end of the movie, viewers are transported to the bedroom of a couple where a man is having trouble sleep. He seems to ‘summon’ a holograph of a dancing woman that appear at the bottom of the bed and watches it while his wife sleeps besides him.

The film’s sketching of coming televisual uses indeed appears as a rather precise forecasting of contemporary digital media with regard to the flexibility and hybridity of media technologies and their various consumption forms.

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