PARIS — It took 103 years and seven months but the former structure known to cinephiles the world over as the factory in the Lumiere Bros.’ ur-film “Workers Leaving the Factory” has been turned into a state-of-the-art movie theater that will be inaugurated the weekend of Oct 9-11 in Lyons, the Lumiere Institute’s president (and Lyons native) Bertrand Tavernier has announced.
On March 19, 1895, as a host of employees spilled out through giant barn doors into the sunlight, Louis Lumiere stood across the street from his family’s photographic materials firm and turned the crank on the Cinematographe, a contraption he and his brother Auguste had designed. The street in question is now named “Rue du Premier-Film” (First Film Street) and the family mansion houses the nonprofit Lumiere Institute, an archive, museum and research facility founded in 1982.
In addition to a number of French preems — including Andre Techine’s just-completed “Alice and Martin,” starring Juliette Binoche — and screenings of famous films shot on location in Lyons, the Institute and its new 260-seat theater will welcome American director Andre de Toth.
When eye-patched de Toth — “the last of Hollywood’s one-eyed directors, after John Ford, Raoul Walsh and Fritz Lang” per the institute’s press release — participated in Centenary of Cinema celebrations onsite in 1995, he declared that he’d arrived in “the Bethlehem of cinema.” De Toth then joined four dozen international filmmakers in laying the cornerstone for the facility where his 1959 Western “Days of the Outlaw” will be shown on the cinema’s inaugural weekend.