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France’s Cinematheque drops director Scarlet

American exits under cloud of deficit, staff unrest

PARIS — The board of directors of the Cinematheque Francaise has voted to oust its American director, Peter Scarlet, according to a report in French daily Le Monde.

A colleague of Scarlet’s at the French film org confirmed the move, but added that Scarlet had not yet received an official letter from Cinematheque president Jean-Charles Tachella informing him of the board’s decision.

This follows weeks of speculation about Scarlet’s and Tachella’s fate atop the grande dame of French cultural institutions (Daily Variety, June 30).

Recently the Cinematheque announced a $400,000 deficit for 2001, which resulted in the firing of several finance department employees. The head of the cinema museum was also ousted.

David Kessler, head of the Centre National de la Cinematographie, which pays 80% of the Cinematheque’s annual tab, was adament about not bailing the org out of its financial situation.

For weeks now, the Cinematheque staff has been decrying management’s lack of operational savvy and editorial policy.

But Scarlet told Daily Variety last month, “I was not hired to be a controller, and never pretended to be one.”

At a general assembly June 25, Tachella was re-elected as president, but after just eighteen months in the job, Scarlet will be packing in what one American director labelled “a thankless task.”

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