Found: A Glimpse of Marcel Proust, Caught on Film

This is the first known footage of the famous author.

The film above is thought to contain the only known footage of Marcel Proust, the French author most famous for the masterwork In Search of Lost Time. The footage was captured in 1904, at the wedding of Élaine Greffulhe, the daughter of one of Proust’s great friends. Watch as the couple pass, and then about 35 seconds in, after singletons have started skirting down the side, he appears—a man in a bowler hat and a light grey suit.

This footage was found in an archive at the Canadian National Cinema Centre by Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan, a professor at Laval University, in Quebec. It’s impossible to know for sure if the man in the grey suit is Proust, but experts are enthusiastic about the possibility, The Guardian reports. The author was known at this point in his life to favor the bowler hat/grey suit combo, and the man’s face shape also matches pictures of Proust.

It’s likely, too, that he would have been at this wedding. The bride’s mother, the Countess of Greffulhe, was close enough with Proust that she inspired one of the characters in his books. 

 “There can be no absolute proof that it is indeed Proust,” one expert told The Guardian. “But in any case, it’s a valuable document about the world of In Search of Lost Time.”