Feeding the Baby is one of the films that mark the official birth of cinema as a theater-going experience, on December 28, 1895. On that date, Lumière and his brother Auguste projected a program of short films to a paying audience at the Grand Café on the Boulevard des Capucines in Paris. Filmed by Louis and less than a minute long, it shows Auguste and his wife having a meal with their child. While this is presented as a documentary, the film shows a domestic scene arranged for the camera; as such, it falls somewhere between the Lumières' usual strict recordings of actual events and their staged comedies.
The Lumière brothers were already well-established photographers and manufacturers of photographic equipment when, in 1894, they witnessed a demonstration of Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope in Paris. The American invention was a peepshow device, accommodating only one viewer at a time. The Lumières quickly set out to create a combination camera and projector. Their new, simplified, and portable apparatus, which they called the Cinématographe, was the leap of technical imagination needed for a cinematic culture to emerge from Edison's novelty.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 40.