Cinephiles riled in Gaul

Protesters call for boycott of film archive's farewell party

While New Wave icon Anna Karina gave a concert inside the Chaillot Palace recently, employees of the Cinematheque Francaise sang a different tune outside.

Worried by a mini-wave of firings, employees passed out protest fliers mocking the title of Cinematheque prez Claude Berri‘s most recent film, “One Stays, the Other Leaves.”

Headlined “Some Stay, Others Leave,” the pointed tracts urged attendees to boycott the film archive’s farewell party. After 42 years at Chaillot, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, the Cinematheque is headed for a new home in the Bercy district.

But the new digs, in the former American Center building designed by Frank Gehry, won’t open until September.

For the first time in its 70-year history, the archive — a nonprofit funded mostly by the government — won’t be showing films for six months.

Immortalized at the start of Francois Truffaut’s “Stolen Kisses” and recently featured in Bernardo Bertulucci‘s “The Dreamers,” the Chaillot theater has welcomed cinema greats from Orson Welles to Clint Eastwood.

The 400-seat theater will now be used to show films about architecture as part of the architecture center the government is in the process of housing on the premises.

The collection of cinemabilia in the film museum, which Cinematheque founder Henri Langlois opened in 1972, was removed after a fire in July 1997 and has been in crates ever since.

The new Cinematheque at Bercy will house four cinemas, exhibit spaces and a small film museum.

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