|Died||13 January 1977 62) (aged|
|Occupation||Co-founder and director of the Cinémathèque Française|
|Known for||Film preservation, film archiving, film history, cinephilia|
Henri Langlois (French: [lɑ̃glwa] ; 13 November 1914 – 13 January 1977) was a French film archivist and cinephile. A pioneer of film preservation, Langlois was an influential figure in the history of cinema. His film screenings in Paris in the 1950s are often credited with providing the ideas that led to the development of the auteur theory.
Langlois was co-founder of the Cinémathèque Française with Georges Franju and Jean Mitry and also co-founder of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) in 1938. Through close collaboration with the Cinémathèque's longtime Chief Archivist, Lotte Eisner, he worked to preserve films and film history in the post-war era. An eccentric who was often at the center of controversy for his methods,he also served as a key influence on the generation of young cinephiles and critics who would become the French New Wave.
In 1974, Langlois received an Academy Honorary Award for "his devotion to the art of film, his massive contributions in preserving its past and his unswerving faith in its future".
In 1936 Langlois, Franju and Mitry founded the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, their film theater and museum.It grew from ten films in 1936 to more than 60,000 films by the early 1970s. More than an archivist, Langlois saved many films which were at risk of vanishing. Besides films, Langlois also helped to preserve other items related to cinema such as cameras, projection machines, costumes, and vintage theater programmes. He eventually collected so many items that he donated them in 1972 to the Musée du Cinéma in the Palais de Chaillot, where they covered a two-mile span of film artifacts and memorabilia. The collection was relocated due to damage from a fire in 1997.
During the Second World War, Langlois and his colleagues helped to save many films that were at risk of being destroyed during the Nazi occupation.
Langlois influenced the French New Wave directors François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard,Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol and Alain Resnais among others, and the generation of filmmakers that followed. Some of these filmmakers were called les enfants de la cinémathèque ("children of the cinémathèque"), as they could often be found in the front row of packed screenings.
Langlois' romantic attitude to film was in contrast to the scientific approach utilised by Ernest Lindgren at Britain's National Film Archive.Langlois' methods were unconventional. He was accused of having no rational approach to record keeping. The Cinémathèque lost a portion of its collection to a nitrate film fire on 10 July 1959. Sources are in conflict as to the cause and the extent of the loss.
In September 1959, a rift developed between the Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (FIAF) and the Cinémathèque. Langlois had been involved in the founding of FIAF. The dispute between the two bodies was resolved only some years after Langlois had died.
In 1968, French culture minister André Malraux tried to fire Langlois by stopping funding of the project. Malraux had invited the Soviet Minister of Culture to Paris. Malraux suddenly requested Langlois to privately screen, at the Cinematheque at Palais de Chaillot, for the visiting minister, the original version of a movie— Octobre —directed by Sergei Eisenstein. Langlois had already programmed the entire week and told Malraux that he could not accommodate the demands of the Soviet minister and that the Cinematheque was not a governmental agency. As an answer, Malraux simply closed the Cinematheque and sent the police against protesters (March 1968, including almost all of the directors of the New Wave; Nicholas Ray was there in person as well.)
Local and international uproar ensued, and even the prestigious Cannes Film Festival was halted in protest that year. Protesters in Paris included the student activist Daniel Cohn-Bendit from University of Nanterre-Paris. Support came in telegrams from renowned directors, from Alfred Hitchcock to Kurosawa to Fellini to Gianni Serra. Malraux eventually reinstated Langlois after intense debate, while reducing museum funding. Truffaut opens Stolen Kisses (1968) with a shot of the shuttered and locked Cinémathèque and dedicates the film to Langlois.
In 1970, Langlois selected seventy films from the Cinémathèque's collection for inclusion in "Cinémathèque at the Metropolitan Museum," an exhibition in celebration of the Centennial of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition, co-sponsored by the Metropolitan Museum and the City Center of Music and Drama in New York, showed seventy films dating from the medium’s first seventy-five years on thirty-five consecutive evenings from July 29 to September 3, 1970. Langlois selected films for their significance and contributions to the history of filmmaking, including work from official film industries as well as current and early avant garde directors. The program was the most diverse film exhibition held in the United States to date, and was the Museum’s first major undertaking in film.
In 1974, Langlois received an Academy Honorary Award for his lifetime work with the Cinémathèque.He died three years later and is interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris.
Place Henri Langlois in the 13th arrondissement in Paris is named in his honour.
In 1970, an English language documentary Henri Langlois was made about his life's work, featuring interviews with Ingrid Bergman, Lillian Gish, François Truffaut, Catherine Deneuve, Jeanne Moreau and others. The film was produced and directed by Roberto Guerra and Eila Hershon.
In 2004–2005, Jacques Richard directed another documentary of Langlois's career, The Phantom of the Cinémathèque.It features interviews with friends, colleagues, academics, and such movie luminaries as Simone Signoret, Godard, Chabrol, Truffaut and Jean-Michel Arnold.
Bernardo Bertolucci's 2003 film The Dreamers dwells on the firing of Langlois and includes period footage of the events.
In 2014, the Cinémathèque released a short documentary titled Henri Langlois vu par..., in which thirteen filmmakers, including Agnès Varda, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski, Manoel de Oliveira, Bernardo Bertolucci, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Wim Wenders talk about Langlois and their relationship with him.
Cahiers du Cinéma is a French film magazine co-founded in 1951 by André Bazin, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, and Joseph-Marie Lo Duca. It developed from the earlier magazine Revue du Cinéma involving members of two Paris film clubs—Objectif 49 and Ciné-Club du Quartier Latin.
François Roland Truffaut was a French film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film critic. He is widely regarded as one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry, having worked on over 25 films. Truffaut's film The 400 Blows is a defining film of the French New Wave movement, and has four sequels, Antoine et Colette, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, and Love on the Run, between 1958 and 1979.
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Claude Henri Jean Chabrol was a French film director and a member of the French New Wave group of filmmakers who first came to prominence at the end of the 1950s. Like his colleagues and contemporaries Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Éric Rohmer and Jacques Rivette, Chabrol was a critic for the influential film magazine Cahiers du cinéma before beginning his career as a film maker.
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Jacques Rivette was a French film director and film critic most commonly associated with the French New Wave and the film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma. He made twenty-nine films, including L'amour fou (1969), Out 1 (1971), Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974), and La Belle Noiseuse (1991). His work is noted for its improvisation, loose narratives, and lengthy running times.
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The Cinémathèque Française is a French non-profit film organization founded in 1936 that holds one of the largest archives of film documents and film-related objects in the world. Based in Paris, the archive offers daily screenings of worldwide films.
Ernest Lindgren was a British film archivist and writer.
Cinephilia is the term used to refer to a passionate interest in films, film theory, and film criticism. The term is a portmanteau of the words cinema and philia, one of the four ancient Greek words for love. A person with a passionate interest in cinema is called a cinephile, cinemaphile, filmophile, or, informally, a film buff. To a cinephile, a movie is not just a form of entertainment as they see films from a more critical point of view.
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The Musée de la Cinémathèque, formerly known as Musée du Cinéma – Henri Langlois, is a museum of cinema history located in the Cinémathèque française, 51 rue de Bercy in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. It presents the living history of moving pictures and pre-cinema, from their origins to the present day and in all countries, with collections of more than 5,000 movie-related objects including cameras, movie scripts and sets, photographic stills, costumes worn by actors like Rudolph Valentino and Marilyn Monroe, and showed several early movies from the important collection of the Cinémathèque.
The Holy Innocents (1988) is a novel by Gilbert Adair about French siblings and an American stranger who enters their world. Its themes were inspired by Jean Cocteau's novel Les Enfants Terribles and by the film of the same name directed by Jean-Pierre Melville.
The 21st Cannes Film Festival was to have been held from 10 to 24 May 1968, before being curtailled due to the turmoil of May 1968 in France.
Jean Douchet was a French film director, historian, film critic and teacher who began his career in the early 1950s at Gazette du Cinéma and Cahiers du cinema with members of the future French New Wave.
Jacques Rivette was a French film director, screenwriter and film critic. He wrote and directed twenty feature films, including the two-part Joan the Maiden, eight short films and a three-part television documentary. He also acted in small roles and participated in documentaries. After making his first short film, Aux quatre coins, in his hometown of Rouen, Rivette moved to Paris in 1949 to pursue a career in filmmaking. While attending film screenings at Henri Langlois' Cinémathèque Française and other ciné-clubs he gradually befriended many future members of the French New Wave, including François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Éric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol. Rivette's association with this group of young cinephiles led to the start of both his filmmaking career and his work in film criticism. In collaboration with his new friends, Rivette made two more short films and worked as a cinematographer and editor on films by Rohmer and Truffaut. He also worked in small roles and as an assistant director to Jean Renoir on French Cancan and Jacques Becker on Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. During this period he began writing film criticism for the magazine Gazette du Cinéma and later Cahiers du Cinéma, and was one of the most respected writers by his peers.
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The Cinémathèque Méliès – Les Amis de Georges Méliès is a non-profit French organisation created in 1961 to locate, gather, preserve and promote the work of Georges Méliès and restore a French cultural heritage which, in 1945, was considered lost. The rediscovered work is promoted through lectures, "ciné-concerts" as in the early days of cinema , exhibitions, publications, a documentary and DVDs. So far, the association has managed to collect about 200 films, 145 of which were given to the Cinémathèque française.
Mary Meerson, née Marija Popowa, also known as Madame Langlois was a French ballet dancer, model and archivist of the Cinémathèque Française. She was a companion and collaborator of Henri Langrois, the founder and director of the Cinémathèque Française.
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