Cover photo © credits to Cinémathèque française
Cover photo © credits to Cinémathèque française
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Cinémathèque française: heaven for movie lovers

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The Cinémathèque française is a real heaven for movie lovers.  Established in 1936 and located in an incredible building designed by Frank Gehry, the Cinémathèque française is a place that holds one of the largest archives of movie documents and movie-related objects in the world. So, not only that you can see movies from all around the world, but you can also visit some cult items such as the female robot from the film 'Metropolis' by Fritz Lang or the head of Mrs. Bates in “Psycho” by Alfred Hitchcock. 

The Cinémathèque Française, Paris
The Cinémathèque Française, Paris
51 Rue de Bercy, 75012 Paris, France

History

Henri Langlois, a French movie archivist and a pioneer of movie preservation, founded the Cinémathèque française in Paris in 1936. The mission of this place was to preserve the movies, restore and screen them. Henri Langlois also began to collect everything related to cinema: cameras, original movie posters, publications, costumes and even movies sets. The Cinémathèque française influenced the French New Wave directors such as François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Gorard, and some of these directors were even called the children of the Cinémathèque. But, the things didn’t always go smoothly. Henri Langlois’s approach to movie preservation was more than unconventional, and in 1968, the French authorities stopped funding this project and even fired Langlois. After an incredible insurrection of students and filmmakers, the Cinémathèque française was reopened, and Henri Langlois got his job back.  

The building

After numerous relocations from one screening room to another, the Cinémathèque française moved finally into the incredible postmodern building designed by Franck Gehry, an American architect. Gehry originally designed this building in 1993 to house the American cultural center. But, after only a few years, due to a lack of budget, this Centre was closed. In 1998, the French authorities decided finally to set the Cinémathèque française in this building. Today, inside of the Cinémathèque française, visitors can check the Museum of cinema history. This place presents the living history of movies from their origins to the present day. The museum collection has more than 5,000 movie-related objects such as costumes, movie accessories, magic lanterns, camera obscura, legendary costumes worn by Hollywood actors, picture boxes, cameras, projectors, original movie posters, photographs, manuscripts and other archives. The Cinémathèque française also has a library that offers a wide variety of specific, movie-related documents. 

Photo © credits to kaktus
Photo © credits to kaktus

Practical information

The Cinémathèque française, heaven for movie lovers, is open every day from Wednesday to Monday, from noon to 7 pm. After your movie projection, the perfect place to have a drink or a dinner is the restaurant “Les 400 coups” situated inside the Cinémathèque. On the menu: fresh food, craft beer and special children menu. This restaurant is open every day, except on Tuesdays.

Les 400 coups
Les 400 coups
51 Rue de Bercy, 75012 Paris, France

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The author

Sladjana Perkovic

Sladjana Perkovic

Hello, my name is Sladjana, a journalist and writer living in Paris, France. I write about French well hidden places, gastronomy and cultural events.

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