Villenour (French India: Territory of Pondicherry) (1914)

Gorgeously dreamlike colour images of (then) French India – present-day Puducherry.

These gorgeous stencil-coloured images of French India – present-day Puducherry – have a dreamlike quality.

The arrival of a well-to-do European family, dutifully attended to by the locals, gives a semblance of narrative to what is largely a purely picturesque escapist experience – transporting Western viewers to an out-of-time ‘exotic’ netherworld.

This was a French production but like many of the travel films so popular in early cinema it travelled widely itself – hence this version with English language titles.

Part of India on Film: 1899 – 1947 This collection of newly digitised films is part of the BFI’s contribution to the UK-India Year of Culture 2017, in partnership with the British Council.