Monday, April 22, 2013

La Cinémathèque française: L'espace vidéos

The Cinémathèque française in Paris was founded in 1936 by Henri Langlois, Georges Franju and Jean Mitry. It has a rich history: Langlois is famous for his early film preservation and programming (cf. Entretien avec Henri Langlois, Cahiers N.135). It played an important role in the development of French film culture. Along with curating many important full director retrospectives, it has also works on restoring films. Its archive is an important resource for film scholarship. It has evolved with time to adapt to new technologies and cultural institution guidelines. In 1998 the Cinémathèque moved to its current location in the former Frank Gehry designed American cultural center at 51 rue de Bercy in the 12nd Arrondissement.

At the Cinémathèque there are movie theaters, an exhibition space, a museum, a permanent collection, and a library. On their website these different areas are updated regularly to reflect their newest programs and content. Their film programming and exhibitions reflect the vast diversity of film history and is organized with a flair and adventurousness. The exhibitions that they currently have on are Le monde enchanté de Jacques Demy and Exposition Maurice Pialat: Peintre et Cineaste. The Musée de la Cinémathèque has on display a variety of memorabilia from throughout the history of cinema (cf. the English audio guide). Its director general Serge Toubiana, a former chief-editor of Cahiers, also maintains a good blog.

The film magazines Cahiers du Cinéma and Positif, amongst its local film coverage, regularly publishes dossiers to correspond with the programming and exhibitions at the Cinémathèque (cf. Hallucinations cinématographiques).

But I want to focus here on the video section of the Cinémathèque which is perhaps one of their greatest online resources. The rencontres à la Cinémathèque française are events at the Cinémathèque where they get film scholars to "talk about films, filmmakers, cinema, films movements, and technical aspects. The goal is to create cinema through its discussion, to talk about everything that makes cinema so alive and an evolving art form that is constantly re-inventing itself." The talks are just as good as any published French film criticism but they are of special interest as they put faces and the dynamism of speech to writers that one might only be familiar with in print.

In this video section there are: dialogues and cinema lessons, round tables, conferences, presentations and lectures. The sections are further divided by themes. But if you go to the Voir toutes les vidéos you can see all of them (the current count is 304).

Some highlights:

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