In 18th-century France the aristocrats went already to the movies, Kathryn Shattuck writes for The New York Times. In a new book, “Carmontelle’s Landscape Transparencies: Cinema of the Enlightenment,” the historian Laurence Chatel de Brancion steps back into prerevolutionary France to explore the pastimes created by Louis Carrogis, known as Carmontelle, in his role as resident entertainer at the court of the duke of Orléans. At the heart of the volume are Carmontelle’s experiments with light and moving images: rouleaux transparents, or “rolled-up transparent drawings,” a precursor to modern cinema. The luminous scenes of verdant parks and splendidly attired people — between 12 and 19 inches deep and up to 138 feet long — were backlighted with natural daylight, wound between spindles and viewed in a boxlike precursor to the television, often accompanied by music or narrated by Carmontelle himself. “Carmontelle’s Landscape Transparencies” will be published next month by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and Ms. Chatel de Brancion will visit Manhattan in April to discuss her book at the National Arts Club.