We'll start with the pretty insane, more-comedy-than-romantic 1912 Mest kinematograficheskogo operatora, the first surviving film by Ladislav Starevich. (Various English-language titles for the film can be found; apparently it means something along the lines of, "The Cameraman's Revenge.") You may notice that it's a stop-motion picture in which all roles are played by dead bugs. Why? Wikipedia explains:
Starewicz had interests in a number of different areas; by 1910 he was named Director of the Museum of Natural History in Kovno, Lithuania. There he made four short live-action documentaries for the museum. For the fifth film, Starewicz wished to record the battle of two stag beetles, but was stymied by the fact that the nocturnal creatures inevitably went to sleep whenever the stage lighting was turned on.Opportunity knocks!
Starevich's signature piece is Fetiche Mascote, but, hey, Citizen Kane ain't Orson Welles' best film either.
*Does that make shorts sort of a Giffen good perhaps?