Extrait de l’article de Mars 2014 sur Pierre Filmon – Paris, France

In 1990, when I was twenty years old and lived in Tours, France, I discovered a group of first-rate art houses, the Studio movie theatres, and with them the pleasures of cinephilia. But this passion had a price – the cost of admission! Monthly cinema passes, specialty movie channels on TV and the Internet did not yet exist, so I quickly had to find a way to see all the films I wanted to without ruining myself. When I turned around and saw the glass portholes looking out onto the movie theatre, I found the solution to my problem: I’d become a projectionist!

Military service was obligatory in France at the time, but not for much longer. I set off as a sailor on a 120-metre corvette and there on the lurching ship I worked on correspondence courses with the goal of obtaining my projectionist diploma (1993 was the first year in which the program of study included video projection). When I finished my service I landed an intensive and exciting internship at the Louis Lumière school near Paris, where I settled. My cinephilia led me to the Cinémathèque française and to the classic American films shown in the six auditoria of the Action theatres – the Action Christine, the Action Écoles and the Grand Action – which I attended assiduously. I took work in various independent cinemas in Paris, where I cut my teeth and sweated bullets when the spectators were impatient enough to add to my technical worries. I spent a month here and a month there, at the St Lambert, the Espace St Michel, the Épée de bois, the Clef, the Entrepôt, the Studio des Ursulines, the Champo and the Ranelagh where for several years running, twice on Saturdays and once on Sunday, I screened in back projection the same 35mm print of The Children of Paradise, the print becoming more fragile each time. I even had the pleasure of receiving a visit in the booth, a few weeks before his death, from the great Marcel Carné, small of stature, when Didier Decoin filmed a couple of shots of him for his documentary about Carné’s life. In 1996, I was asked to take over on short notice from a projectionist with the Action cinemas who had just been fired for having scratched the only print in distribution of a 16mm film showing at the Action Christine: Atom Egoyan’s Calendar. After three months, my boss, Jean-Marie Rodon, offered to let me take over from the projectionist at the Grand Action, who was retiring. I still work there, but part-time now (…)

March 2014
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