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Le Fantôme d'Henri Langlois

Le Fantôme d'Henri Langlois

A Feature film by Jacques Richard

Produced by Les Films Élémentaires

Release in France : 02/03/2005

  • Contents

Participants (34)

Production and distribution (3)

Executive Producer :

Les Films Élémentaires

French distribution :



Henri Langlois created the Cinémathèque Française in 1936 and thus saved thousands of films from oblivion and destruction. His determination, enthusiasm and passionate approach meant that he rapidly established a film archive renowned throughout the world. He bought every print he could, and when someone asked if they could borrow a film, he’d reply: “Go and ask the Louvre to lend you the ‘Mona Lisa’ and see what response you’d get.”
He organized screenings of masterpieces from around the world and soon Godard, Rivette, Truffaut, Rohmer and Chabrol – all the seminal figures of the New Wave – rushed to the Cinémathèque to discover the history of cinema. Chabrol says, with humor, that Langlois invented the first multiplex: the Cinémathèque’s first venue, Avenue de Messine, was too small and so screenings took place in the lobby, on the first floor and in the staircase.
At the beginning of 1968, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, directed by André Malraux, accused Langlois of mismanagement. The government reproached him for being disorganized and for losing films. To which Franju replied: “Langlois isn’t disorganized. He has a scientific sense of disorder.” Malraux stuck to his guns and forced Langlois from his Cinémathèque in February 1968. People from the film world immediately joined forces in support of the institution’s founding father and within two months he was reinstated. This became known as the “Langlois Affair” and, in some ways, it was a dress rehearsal for May 68. Indeed, lead activist Daniel Cohn-Bendit was seen for the first time heading demonstrations during the Langlois event. This wide-reaching and authentic portrait retraces the era of a man and the institution he created through numerous interviews with and never-before-seen archives of Henri Langlois, extracts from movie classics, along with countless photographic documents.
Hollywood awarded this unique personality with an Oscar for his work in 1974. He died three years later, in 1977, living in an apartment without electricity or a telephone.
Today, 28 years later, the Ghost still wanders…


Photos (3)

Full credits (9)

Technical details

Feature film

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Nationality :

100% French (France)

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Runtime :

3 h 32 min

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Color and Black & White

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Posters (1)



Festival Selections (9)

TIFF - 2004

TIFF (Canada, 2004)


Real to Reel Documentaries

Montreal World Film Festival - 2004

Montreal World Film Festival (Canada, 2004)


Documentaries of the World

Delegations (6)