"And The Ship Sails On"

By Serge Toubiana at the occasion of the end of his term as Director-General of the Cinémathèque française

La Lettre AFC n°262

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Within just a few days, I shall come to the end of my term as Director-General of the Cinémathèque française. As of February 1st, 2016, Frédéric Bonnaud will take up the reins and assume full responsibility for this great institution.

We shall have spent a great deal of time in each other’s company over the past month, with a view to inducting Frédéric into the way the place works. He has been able to learn the range of our activities, meet the teams and discover all our on-going projects. This friendly transition from one director-general to the next is designed to allow Frédéric to function at full-steam from day one.
The handover will have been, both in reality and in the perception, a peaceful moment in the life of the Cinémathèque, perhaps the first easy handover in its long and sometimes turbulent history. That’s the way we want it - we being Costa-Gavras, chairman of our board, and the regulatory authority, represented by Fleur Pellerin, Minister of Culture and Communication, and Frédérique Bredin, Chairperson of the CNC, France’s National Centre for Cinema and Animation. The peaceful nature of this handover offers further proof that the Cinémathèque has entered into a period of maturity and is now sufficiently grounded and self-confident to start out on the next chapter without trepidation.

But let me step back in time.

Since moving into the Frank Gehry building at 51 rue de Bercy, at the behest of the Ministry of Culture, the Cinémathèque française has undergone a profound transformation. It has moved with the times to establish healthy, transparent management practices and a smooth, confident relationship with its regulatory supervisors. Endowed with a budget three times larger than in our Chaillot days, we have been able to extend our film heritage and conservation activities enormously. Over the last ten years, our archival collections have been enriched by spectacular acquisitions.
Our programming and educational activities have grown considerably too. And we have acquired expertise at enhancing the value of our collections by organizing 24 exhibitions in 10 years. Our Film Museum has thrived. The Film Library has become much more open, enabling thousands of students and researchers to make use of texts, journals, archives and other precious materials relating to the history of cinema. We have established a bookshop and a restaurant called "Les 400 Coups" (the Four Hundred Blows). [...]

  • Read more on the Cinématheque française website.