Currently in preparation

Talking Cinema with Henri Langlois

Translated by Timothy Barnard

Shortly before his death in 1977, the legendary director of the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, Henri Langlois, sat for a series of talks with a Canadian public television crew in the galleries of the Cinémathèque’s film museum, designed by Langlois in his characteristically idiosyncratic fashion. Each film segment features Langlois speaking about a key filmmaker, past and present: Méliès, Griffith, Chaplin, Lang, Eisenstein, Renoir, Carné, Rossellini, Godard, Warhol and others. Langlois was a walking encyclopaedia of film technique and style, and his voluble discussions of these filmmakers, their films and the age in which they worked constitute a veritable mini-lecture series on film history and aesthetics. Just as, in fact, he would have introduced his eclectic film programs at the Cinémathèque since the immediate post-war period, when the future Nouvelle Vague filmmakers, Godard, Truffaut and Rivette among them, literally learned about film at his feet from the front row of the Cinémathèque’s screening room, where he gave impromptu lectures like these — of which, unfortunately, no record exists.

These talks, the only extended document of Langlois’ inimitable speaking style and his unique perspective on film art, are virtually impossible to see in their original form and are being published here for the first time in any language.