18.3.11

Film studios



Wednesday this week I was invited by “Société Historique et Archéologique du Vieux Montmartre” to watch a film, somehow related to Montmartre. This gave me the opportunity to visit what for some decades were cinematographic studios. In 1926, what previously was a “bazaar” for building equipment, was transformed to film studios. Ownership changed over the years, but they were basically known as “Pathé Cinema”. There were other studios in and around Paris, but this was one of them, located on the northern slopes of Montmartre (Rue Francoeur). By the end of the 1990’s the place was taken over by “Femis”, the French state film school – “Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Métiers de l’Image et du Son”). This is where you learn about film directing, screenwriting, filming, sound engineering, editing… Few students are accepted after tough filtering - the level of acceptance is something like 3%. Today the old studios are of course completely modernized, transformed, but you can still feel some touch of what it used to be.



Here is a sample of films that were made here, involving directors like Jean Renoir, Marcel Carné… and actors and actresses like Jean Gabin, Arletty, Louis Jouvet, Bourvil, Catherine Deneuve…



We were invited to the Femis' larger “Renoir” cinema theatre to listen to the authors and watch a documentary…













...  about the lost head of Henri IV! This is a long story, which I will not tell in detail, but … Henri IV was assassinated in 1610 and buried in the Saint Denis Basilica (see previous post) together with almost all French Royalties. During the Revolution the Royal graves were ransacked. Some relics were saved and one of them was obviously the embalmed head of Henri IV, which since has passed between private collectors. One of the owners was a Montmartre junk shop owner who fought for years to get the identity confirmed. The authors of the film managed to find the head again and managed after long research to get it scientifically proven (to 99.9%) that it really is the head of Henri IV. This is what the documentary is about. Henri IV’s head will now be reinterred in the Saint Denis Basilica. If you are interested, you can read more about it e.g. here.
On the way out, I noticed this old punch clock. I guess it was rather meant for the workers at the original building equipment bazaar than for the film stars. It’s still working. I left at 10 p.m.

19 comments:

Peter (the other) said...

Somehow the punch clock makes me think of the famous Lumiere film of 1895 - everyone leaving the factory. Those clocks being invented not long before.

Thérèse said...

Fascinating!
You are now a VIP Peter. What's your next invitation?

Chemokiki said...

Another fascinating and very interesting posting! Henry's Head?
You can bet I'll be eating this story up!
Thanks Peter!

Dianne said...

What an interesting life you live Peter! - This would have been a dream night -visiting the old studios. J'aime beacoup les films français.

Delphinium said...

Voilà voilà, pendant que je travaille, tu vas au cinéma! :-))
J'espère que tu vas bien, moi j'ai boudé un peu les blogs cette semaine, trop de travail. Mais je suis toujours vivante. Enfin je crois... Non, non ce n'est pas du cinéma.

Ash said...

Wow, interesting post Peter. I love those old posters!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

What an interesting tour you have given us! I did not even know about this place and certainly had not heard the Henry IV head story... hummmm

You are quite the man about town, Peter, and I can't wait to hear about your next soirée...

Bises,
G

amatamari© said...

But the movie was funny?
Or did you sleep?
:-)
Beautiful post: the story of the head contention is a little surreal but I love the working clock!
:-)

Virginia said...

HOOORAYYYY! You are bac up and running~!! Brea out the champagne. (Unfortunately my eyboard is still missing the "you now what ey" and the comma). I am sure you are relieved. Tell us what if anything you found out about all of this.
V

Honest Abe Lincoln said...

I sent you your blog that I found on Google. But I see you are already back up and running. Good for you.

Peter said...

Sincere thanks for all your efforts Abe! I don't understand, but, yes, my blog is back!

Kate said...

Collectors want the darndest things; I'll pass on Henry's head! So happy you're back up and online. Probably not as happy as you are!!

Ruth said...

I'm just glad to see you back!! I will come back and interact with the post tomorrow. Phew, what a huge relief!

love
ruth

Jilly said...

Great to see you back, Peter. I found I could access your cached posts yesterday but not via the normal, direct route.

Peter (the other) said...

Isn't there that curse of Henri's 'ead? If you post a photo of his poor cabeza, first your blog disappears... and then I think it is you spill your coffee on your best slacks... and then... and then...

... don't mess with ol' Henri!

Trotter said...

So, now that your blog is getting full and deserved acknowledgment, Blogger is doing its part... ;)

MAMAC is at Blogtrotter Two. Enjoy and have a superb weekend!!

joanny said...

Peter:

Most interesting post, love the collection of film posters, not so sure about Henry IV thought, it is a most bizarre story with many twists and turns.

Joanny

Cergie said...

Tu nous fais un remake des "Disparus de Saint-Agil de Christian-Jaque (1938). J'espère de tout coeur que cela se finira bien...

Vagabonde said...

A post full of information as always and what a bizarre story about the good king Henri IV. I did not know his head had been going around.