Artist: Émile Cohl
One of the main reasons that Fantasmagorie is so revolutionarily is because it is considered the first fully animated film. The first of something is almost always revolutionary because it opens the floodgates for more people to use the techniques, processes, ideas, etc that the work itself showcased. Anytime a new type of media or technique is showed it has a strong effect on the audience because is showing them something almost magical, something that they didn’t know was possible.
In the case of Fantasmagorie it opened the door for the animated film. Cohl used stop motion for his animation and even though the animation field has come an extraordinarily long way since Fantasmagorie stop motion is still used today, 111 years later. Fantasmagorie also has a very stream of consciousness theme which has been used time and time again in works of art including paintings, films, animations, and works of writing, now I can’t attribute all of these works that use stream of conscious back to Cohl because I’m sure the trope existed before 1908, but Cohl definitely showed the idea to new audiences and used it within a new context. Cohl not only popularized stop motion, but he is credited with showing the first western animation to Japan and exposing a whole country to western animation.
Cohl created a long list of other animations, some of which have survived and can be watched online today, a hundred years later. Cohl maintains his style of drawing through his various animations. Some of his animations like Le retapeur de cervelles and The Neo-Impressionist Painter mix video with his animation style to give a magic realism sort of effect. My favorite of Cohl’s other works is Les exploits de Feu Follet, it seems more developed stylistically than Fantasmagorie is, which could be because it was made 3 years later. I also like the physicality that some of the scenes in Les exploits de Feu Follet have in that they are clearly pieces of paper being moved and manipulated.