Less than six minutes during which the Langres of the past comes alive. It is the moving result of the restoration of a promotional film dating from 1925.
“At 7, 8 years old, I jumped on Marlene Dietrich’s lap”. The brat was then at the Chavannes boys’ school. “A guy came to school. He wanted three kids…”. This is how the young Pierre rose to the place of king: the man who came from nowhere made him appear in Martin Roumagnac, which Georges Lacombe will shoot. In 1946, with Jean Gabin, Queen Dietrich towed the poster. It was “in the 80s” that Pierre slipped this memory to his friend, the head of the city’s cultural department, Chantal Andriot. “We talked about films… and I started looking for feature films, amateur works shot in the city…”. With, in sight, the preparation of the Centenary of the cinema in 1995. Soon, good pick, Chantal Andriot will unfold an unknown local history. When the friend Michèle Gautier informs him of the existence of a box, in which old films are stored. He survived the move of the tourist office, which left its dedicated pavilion in Place Bel’air in 1992 – where the public toilets are today. Its manager Gérard Féron had warned. “There are boxes with reels in bags, you must not open them: there are flame films*”. Carefully, Chantal Andriot sinks her hand into the pockets. Extract a film… with explosive potential. Without touching it, she takes it to the Parisian laboratory Neyrac, a restoration specialist.
The laboratory reveals the film: shot in black and white, it is silent, it is a small format of 5’30 which dates from 1925. The boxes – our current title banks – are signed Edition Natura films. To be able to read them, they are duplicated. “Before, we projected at 18 frames per second, they were transformed into 24 frames per second”. So, at the same time, to slow down… the steps of the characters, which nevertheless remain a little jerky. The 35 mm video copy goes to Langres, the original to the film archives of the national cinema center in Bois d’Arcy (Yvelines). It’s simple: “it’s a gem”.
“In 2007, Pierre Boespflug, in artistic residence in Langres, composed music for these silent images”. The flame film adventure continues… Indeed, “at the time, musicians accompanied the screenings…”. The composer works with the municipal harmony. In May 2008, year of the Tourist Office’s Centenary, “Langres 1925” was screened in the theatre, with the accompaniment of the musicians. Something to spur on the director of the municipal music school Marc Simonnot – his score will be for two pianos. Coincidence falls on time, the music festival celebrates the centenary of the first film music. Saturday, June 21, 2008, the screening, repeated four times in the courtyard of the cloister of Saint-Mammès, was a hit: 1,500 people attended.
The machine dreams that work will it restart when “Langres 1925”, will catch hundred years ?
these films on celluloid support, which therefore date from before the 1940s, take their name from the gas they produce, which is flammable in contact with air.
Back to the source
Chantal Andriot was able to reconstruct the adventure of making this film.1925: it is commissioned by the Syndicat d’Initiatives from Natura Films in Paris; who turns it in the summer; two members of the syndicate play the extras: Abel and Pierre Delanne (the characters wearing a boater’s headdress). The following October 13, the tourist office viewed the film, which cost 2,500 F. On October 29, it was shown to the public in the cinema then located on Place Ziegler – the entrance price was 3 F and it was unique. ; given the success of the session, a second screening took place on November 3 (Copyright archives onrsonnelles de Chantal Andriot
). The DVD of “Langres 1925” remains available
at the tourist office. Price: €5.