This film is part of Free

Women Fetching Water from the Nile

A Victorian view of Egypt: exotic and elegantly filmed.

Travelogue 1897 1 mins Silent


This Victorian view of Egypt is, as you’d expect, exotic; it’s also elegantly filmed. Following a fourteen-part Tour of Spain and Portugal that he shot for R.W. Paul in 1896, Henry Short went to Egypt for this 1897 follow-up series. He’s known to have made ten films there, of which few are known to survive.

The composition has an artful simplicity: the camera position exaggerates the perspective of the wall the women are walking alongside. There is no narrative, but their approach to and retreat from the camera creates a more compelling image than if Short had filmed them head-on, especially given the curiosity value, to Western audiences, of the large pots that they carry on their heads.