In Tours, the cinematheque pampers the public of tomorrow

In the class of Sophie Vige, the students of 1st cinema option of the Balzac high school in Tours (Indre-et-Loire) finalized, at the end of last week, their presentation of The Piano Lesson. The city’s cinematheque entrusted them with the task of introducing the screening, on Monday, December 12, of Jane Campion’s feature film (1993) and extending the session with a presentation of their observations.

“In class, we dissected the film from A to Z and discovered an aesthetic that we are not familiar with.The very slow shots are extremely beautiful. It makes you want to see the director’s other films.” testifies Émie Duchesne. One of his comrades opined: “The silence of the main character questioned us. It’s as if Jane Campion was going back to the roots of cinema: filming to make people feel emotions, through facial expressions, the soundtrack…”

Carrying on the spirit and legacy of Henri Langlois

In this city of cinephiles, nourished between 1955 and 1971 by the International Short Film Days, the Cinémathèque de Tours, which celebrated its 50th anniversary from November 25 to 28 in the presence of Costa-Gavras, frequently gives the floor to high school students and students.

Since 2005, Agnès Torrens has presided over the destiny of one of the thirteen cinematheques in France, whose particularity is to be hosted by Studio Cinémas, a complex of art house cinemas in the city center. With Elsa Loncle, she strives to involve young people, perpetuating the spirit and the heritage of Henri Langlois, founder of the establishment, as well as of its Parisian big sister.

Continuing attendance

At the beginning of each season, both respond with good grace to requests from colleges and high schools to present the 40 to 50 films in the program which runs from the silent era to the beginning of the 21st century and which constitutes “a little history of the 7th art”.

This image education work contributes to the success of this establishment, which has no archives and has limited resources. Despite the worrying decline in cinema attendance, high school and university students and moviegoers have not deserted their cinematheque. “At each screening, between 30 and 50% of the public is under 25, she says. When I took over, we were confined to the small rooms of the Studio cinema which welcomes us. I said to myself that something had to be done, this notably involved working to promote the renewal of audiences. »

Major figures of cinema invited

Today, the large 250-seat hall of this cinema is reserved every Monday evening for the Cinémathèque, which sometimes invites great figures from the 7e art such as Arnaud Desplechin, André Téchiné or Maria de Medeiros. In 2010, on the occasion of the long-awaited reissue of his films, Pierre Étaix, who had filmed in the city of Loire The big lovehis fourth feature film, was moved by the warm welcome he received. “We had to refuse people”, remembers Agnès Torrens.

Over the years, events have followed one another, helping to cultivate the – never denied – taste of the public for film-concerts, such as Leonardo DeVinciin 2019, with the Doulce Mémoire early music ensemble from Tours.

“It’s important to look to the future of cinema. »

Agnès Torrens allows herself from time to time to highlight contemporary filmmakers. A student from Escat, a film school founded in Tours by Isabelle Heurtaux, will come to present her short film on the denial of pregnancy on January 16, before the program of a film by Agnès Varda.

“It is not our mission to show recent films, but it is important to look to the future of cinema”, supports the director, who broadcast in preview, in this spirit, The worst by Lise Akoka and Romane Guéret (2022) on the occasion of the celebrating weekendfiftieth anniversary. A link between generations, the Cinémathèque de Tours has, over time, consolidated its place in the cultural landscape of the city.


Half a century of cinema

Founded in 1972 by Henri Langlois and Lionel Tardif, who then had the ambition to set up a new branch of the Cinémathèque française in Tours, following the examples of Grenoble, Nice, Lyon and Strasbourg.

Each season, the Cinémathèque de Tours welcomes 8,000 to 10,000 spectators. The programming of 40 to 50 films per season attracts an average of 150 spectators per screening.

Sessions at attractive prices ranging from €3.20 for children under 14 up to €5.50.


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