Le musée imaginaire d’Henri Langlois
His life can be read like a novel. He was born and lived in Smyrna, but had to leave it when the city was sacked by Ataturk’s army in 1923. Henri Langlois was only 8 years old but he always kept a strong attachment to his Oriental roots, even in his passport where he was described as being from “Asian Turkey”. According to his own words, he was ‘a good for nothing’. So he gave his heart and soul to cinema, founded movie theaters and the French Cinémathèque, the greatest important work of his life, with his friend Georges Franju. It was back in 1936, and he was barely 20 years old. But his crusade filled his whole life, until his death in 1977. The young thin man became a Hitchcock-type character, capable of getting support from Chaplin, Fritz Lang and Chabrol when Malraux had decided to fire him. The book accompanies an exhibition at the Cinémathèque, and traces the man’s combats to save silent movies, to keep the material souvenirs such as cameras, projectors, posters and his tireless vocation to make the world aware of the movies of all countries and confront them to one another. The Nouvelle Vague – from Rohmer to Truffaut – owed him a lot.
Review published in the newsletter #348 - from 29 May 2014 to 4 June 2014